Gov’t announces stringent measures to tame sale of illicit liquor, drugs

Wednesday, March 6th, 2024 12:50 | By
Gov't announces stringent measures to tame sale of illicit liquor, drugs
Interior CS Kithure Kindiki addresses a press conference in Karen, Nairobi on March 6, 2024. PHOTO/Kithure Kindiki(@KindikiKithure)/X

The government has unveiled new stringent measures aimed at curbing the sale of illicit liquor and drugs in the country.

Addressing journalists after a consultative meeting at Deputy President Rigathi Gachagua's official residence in Karen, Nairobi on Wednesday, March 6, Interior Cabinet Secretary Kithure Kindiki announced the suspension of all licenses and certification permits for second-generation alcohol and alcoholic beverage distillers and manufacturers, issued by Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA) and Kenya Bureau of Standards (KEBS).

The CS said that all existing valid licenses must be vetted afresh within 21 days. Only premises receiving fresh approval will be allowed to resume operations.

"Pursuant to (1) above, the Ministry of Interior and National Administration invites all currently licensed manufacturers and distillers to a meeting to be held on Tuesday 12th March 2024 at 10.00am on the above prescription. Due notifications will be issued by separate cover," Kindiki said.

"Fresh license applications shall require manufacturers to have Quality Control (QC) laboratories installed with Gas Chromatography with Flame Ionization Detector (FID), and this MUST be operated by competent laboratory analyst to test incoming raw materials and finished products before releasing to the market.

"The laboratories should register with a provider of inter-laboratory comparison and submit their QC results to the Kenya Bureau of Standards (KEBS) on a monthly basis," he added.

In the new guidelines, all public officers in the enforcement and compliance chain including KRA, KEBS National Police Service (NPS) and NACADA have been barred from owning or operating a bar directly or through proxies.

"All public officers currently operating such premises are required to shut them down or resign from the service with immediate effect. Cross-referencing of the Public Service Commission, National Police Service Commission and distinct agency staff records shall be undertaken to secure compliance thereof," the CS stated.

CS Kindiki has also ordered immediate shutdown of bars, and clubs operating within residential areas and schools.

"All landlords or premise owners shall be deemed aiders and abetters thereof and be held liable for renting out space for establishment of bars/ wines and spirits outlets in prohibited areas pursuant to section 20(c) of the Penal Code," he added.

Under the new regulations, all chemists and agrovets are required to submit their licenses to the Pharmacy and Poisons Board and Veterinary Medicines Directorate for verification within 30 days, failure to which they shall be deemed unlicensed for closure.

"All unlicensed and noncompliant drug manufacturers, agrovets and chemists are to be shut down with immediate effect. The list of currently approved and licensed establishments have been shared with county security teams for reference," Kindiki said.

Further the Interior boss warned thta all licensed pharmacists and veterinary doctors dispensing prescriptions drugs without prescription shall be deregistered.

"All licensed chemists/pharmacy’s and agrovets when issuing prescriptions drugs shall mandatorily issue a certification of the issuing chemist/agrovets, name and license number of the issuing officer for purposes of tracing," the CS directed.

Additionally, Kindiki warned that all vehicles and buildings used in storage and trafficking of illegal drugs, illicit brews and alcohol shall pursuant to section 74 of the Narcotic  Drugs and Pyschotropic Substances Control Act be seized and deemed to be government property.

"The Ministry of Interior and National Administration and Ministry of Health shall put in place measures for branding and colour specification of all alcoholic and tobacco distribution vehicles. Further such products are to be transported between the hours of 6am and 6pm only," he added.

"The guidelines to be issued within 14 days from this directive, with manufacturers expected to secure full implementation within 45 days."

The CS also revealed that a multistakeholder approach has been instituted to strengthen surveillance, enforcement and compliance at all levels led by the National Government Administrative Officers.

According to the CS, surveillance at the border points will be undertaken through a multi-agency framework with key actors including KEBS, Immigration, KRA, National Police Service and Anti-Counterfeit Authority (ACA).

"All enforcement agencies shall undertake integrity vetting of all officers manning border points, highways and regional offices. Only officers of integrity and good standing will be appointed to conduct surveillance at the border points and highways especially Namanga and  Isebania, Moyale and Isiolo," he announced.

The CS also emphasized that the importation, manufacture, sale, use, advertisement, promotion or distribution of shisha is outlawed in the country, and any establishment found in breach of this provision will be shut down with immediate effect.

"County Security Teams are required to enforce this prescription without fail," he directed.

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