Dozens arrested in crackdown on rogue liquor dealers

A police vehicle.

At least 20 people were arrested on Thursday in a joint overnight operation by the Mombasa County inspectorate and police, against alcohol dealers flouting licensing regulations.

The operation, carried out in Bamburi and Kisauni areas at night, saw dozens of bars and liquor stores shut as operators were bundled into waiting County trucks.

A county official who led the operation said the crackdown targeted alcohol dealers who were operating without current business licenses and permits, and therefore denying the County government the necessary revenue.

‘We had a meeting with the alcohol dealers and agreed that they ensure they are compliant in regards to licenses within two weeks, which already elapsed,’ the official, identified only as Halima, said at the Nyali police station where those arrested were booked.

“We found that some dealers had been operating for as long as two or more years without renewing their licenses,” Halima added.

Those arrested are expected to be arraigned in court today, Friday.

The operation is set to continue and will cover more areas including Changamwe and Likoni, she said.

Mombasa county government, through newly elected governor Abdulswamad Sharrif Nassir, is seeking to seal revenue loopholes and increase collections, as it battles huge unpaid bills including staff salaries and suppliers.