Traders Decry Police Harassment, Slow Prosecution of Rogues

Traders of alcoholic drinks in Nakuru North have vowed to aid the police in weeding out sellers of adulterated and counterfeit drinks, even as they decried slow judicial processes.

Bahati Sub-County Bar Owners Association Chairman Alex Kangethe, decried long prosecution of those nabbed selling counterfeit liquor, calling on the government to consider devolving the government Chemist services to the region.

“The judicial process in Kenya is too slow, the investigators tend to do a substandard job and the accused persons end up being released. We have a feeling that the police and the judiciary are to blame for the proliferation of these adulterated and counterfeit drinks,” added Kangethe, noting the traders had continued to cooperate with the police to weed out rogue traders.

The traders who noted that their businesses were law abiding and were selling genuine liquor, vowed to expose those peddling bhang and other drugs and illicit substances, as they tainted the genuine trade.

“We want a society that drinks responsibly and has a future and anyone who does not want to abide by the law should bear the brunt of the law. The county licensing officers should not demonize these businesses and harass our workers but work closely with us to ensure that everyone benefits,” noted Dr. Abdul Noor.

Dr Noor accused the county enforcers of refusing to license some traders on flimsy excuses, noting that the county lost millions in revenue as a result of sluggish response by the enforcers.

The traders also decried hefty licensing fees and double taxation, regretting that the hiked license fees were a deterrent to start-ups.

“On the onset of devolution, the liquor license for an ordinary bar was Shs. 1,800 and now at Sh. 20,500. The trade license for the same establishment, like a midsize restaurant is now at Sh. 39, 000 up from Sh. 2,400.

“The arbitrary hiking of liquor license fees has been a hindrance to this business. Some people can’t afford to renew their licenses as they are taxed separately for liquor and trade in the same facility,” decrying the lack of basic amenities like garbage collection and water that the premises have to source.

His sentiment was echoed by Carolyne Kamau, who also decried harassment by plain cloth police officers who arrested them without proper accusations.

“We are selling responsibly. We are not after destroying our communities but we emphasize responsible drinking and can keep away under-aged persons as we endeavor to conduct clean business,” noted Kamau.

Diaspora Editor

Diaspora Editor

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