Chairman Kiambu Liquor Licensing Board resigns
The Chairman Kiambu Liquor Licensing Board, George Koimburi has resigned citing frustration and highhandedness by the County government operators.
Koimburi’s resignation on Tuesday comes hot on the heels of several complaints by leaders in the region, accusing top County officials of torturing and terrorizing bar operators in the name of liquor crackdowns.
He said that although he supports the fight against consumption and manufacturing of illicit liquor in the County, he was not in agreement with the way the County Enforcement officer and his team was approaching the crackdown on liquor sales, adding that goons had taken over the management of the liquor licensing court.
Speaking to the press in Juja town, Koimburi said the crackdowns had been turned into acts of brutality against bar operators, whereby those caught on the wrong side of the law were brutally beaten and their merchandise confiscated never to be found.
The Chairman accused the County Enforcement Officer, Geoffrey Kaara of organizing brutal and uncalled for crackdowns with armed goons raiding bars, wines and spirit shops and liquor consumption joints and taking with them cartons of products, and it’s believed the same find their way back to the market through the back door.
He said that the enforcement team was contravening County legislated alcoholic drink laws that demand prosecution of those arrested for conducting outlawed alcohol business.
“Kaara cannot purport to be a law by himself by arresting, prosecuting and disciplining those found selling and stocking wines, spirits and beers,” lamented the outgoing chairman.
He said already, the enforcement team was overstepping its mandate, while usurping roles of police officers whereby they arrest and even confiscate the exhibits, leaving the police with the role of holding the suspects before they were taken to court by county prosecutors.
Koimburi cited a case involving Florence Gathoni Mumbi, a wines and spirits operator in Ruiru town, who was cornered by the enforcement team, and her stock confiscated before she was brutally beaten up.
The outgoing chairman said that concerted attempts to follow-up on her stock of close to 30 cartons of wines and spirits were futile, as the arresting officers were not ready to charge her with any wrong doing.
By Lucy Wangai