NAIROBI, Kenya, Jul 17 – The High Court on Friday gave the National Police Service 24 hours to remove the padlocks and seals it used to hamper operations at Keroche Breweries Limited following President Uhuru Kenyatta’s ban on second generation brews.
Justice George Odunga found that the Administration Police acted beyond their mandate, following the directive, when they descended on the brewery led by Naivasha MP John Kihagi, padlocks and seals in tow.
Odunga agreed with Keroche that only the Kenya Bureau of Standards (KEBS) had the mandate to determine what qualifies as a second generation brew and therefore the police and MP had no business locking up the brewer’s facilities.
Even so, Paul Muite acting for Keroche, accused the national government of failing to make clear what does and does not qualify as second generation liquor; costing alcoholic beverage manufacturers millions of shillings.
Central MPs and members of the public went on the rampage following President Kenyatta’s directive that they ‘crackdown’ on those selling the second generation brews and illicit liquor.
READ: Uhuru disbands NACADA, orders crackdown in Central
Muite also questioned why the government would continue collecting taxes on Keroche’s products if what they were manufacturing fell in the second generation liquor category.
He also argued that it was not only the rights of Keroche that were violated by the use of padlocks and seals against Keroche, but the rights of the hundreds employed either directly or indirectly by the alcoholic beverage manufacturer as well.
Kenya Breweries Limited also complained that some of their products were, “unlawfully raided,” in the crackdown as they were all certified.
The National Alcoholic Beverages Association of Kenya also threatened to sue over the uncoordinated manner in which the raids were carried out.
In response to the raids, State House called for the law to be upheld and cautioned against the abuse of President Uhuru Kenyatta’s directive.