278 liquor joints and bars closed down by NACADA

An official conducts an inspection in liquor store PHOTO file

Nairobi,KENYA:National Campaign Against Drug Abuse NACADA has closed down 278 premises across the country for non-compliance of stipulated government  liquor driven policy.

During the crackdown that was done by multi-Agency teams that comprise of officers from the ministry of interior and coordination of National Government, NACADA, Kenya Bureau of Standards (KEBS), Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA), Anti-counterfeit Agency (ACA), the National Police Service and Public Health, the teams visited 713 premises including manufacturers, distributors and alcoholic drink outlets across  the 23 counties .

Addressing the press in Nairobi on Thursday, NACADA chairperson Julius Githiri said that out of 713 premises visited,278 was closed for non-compliance and 280 arrested  for various offences.

Githiri noted that, the team was focusing on the validity of operating license, security of the premises, public health standards, validity of product’s standardization marks, validity of KRA excise stamps and distance of the premises from learning institutions of persons below the age of 18 which most of the premises tend to miss out.

” The objective of the ongoing crackdown is to ensure compliance to the laws and Regulations governing the industry so as to protect Wananchi from unscrupulous businessmen and women who are exposing fellow Kenyans to uncertified and unsafe alcoholic drinks and illicit drugs.”said Githiri

During the crackdown key observations were made that include: Majority of the license issued by the government are either expired or mauled by court injections which means most the counties are operating without license.

That most of the licenses issued are not in harmony with the Alcoholic Drinks control Act of 2010 particularly on operating hours.

The report also shows that, there is poor compliance to the requirement on display of warning signage.

In some of the areas visited in Nairobi like Umoja, Uthiru and Kilimani estate, the hygiene of the majority of the local bars was wanting and also there was massive abuse of the bar and restaurant license as proprietors are issued with the license yet, they do not have an operational restaurant and are therefore left selling alcohol during the day.

“The war against alcohol and drug abuse in the country is a matter of grave concern that calls for the support of all Kenyans. As NACADA we have adopted a policy of going to the Mashinani to create strong partnerships with the community and community based organizations and to seek their support and contribution in our ultimate objective of marking Kenya a nation free from alcohol and drugs abuse” Said Githiri.

The chair has now call upon members of the public to support the course and pass on any useful information on illicit brews and drugs in their areas for appropriate response from the enforcement officers.

The crackdown is being implemented as Rapid Results Initiative (RRI) for 100 days under president Uhuru Kenyatta five-year tenure when he called on all government Agencies including NACADA to realign their priorities and resources to ensure that the objectives of the Big four are realized.

The inspection is still underway as officers in charge have promised not to relent on the exercise on those who breach the law especially this Easter festive season.