, THIKA, Kenya Feb 8 – A manhunt has been launched for directors of Africa Spirits, a Thika-based liquor manufacturer following a week-long raid by DCI detectives who recovered excise duty stamps worth billions.
The raid at the factory started last week, with two officials already charged in court, but the operation was accelerated on Friday with the presence of Inspector General of Police Joseph Boinnet and DCI boss George Kinoti.
Boinnet and Kinoti said the owners have since gone under but they have vowed they will have to face charges, while warning that the government has been losing taxes in billions monthly due to the magnitude of operations unearthed there.
“Why did they go into hiding if they know they are doing genuine business,” Boinnet posed, while addressing journalists, “if they have not committed any wrong they should come out. If you see them, tell them I am looking for them.”
So far, 21 million fake excise duty stamps have been recovered, with massive litres of illicit liquor.
A statement issued on Friday by the Kenya Revenue Authority, Africa Spirts are the manufacturers of portable spirits including Glen Rock, Legend Black, Blue Moon, Legend Brandy among others.
“We suspect the ethanol might have been smuggled into the country from Tanzania,” said Githii Mburu, a Commissioner of Intelligence at KRA. More than 300,000 litres of undeclared ethanol was seized there.
Mburu was involved in the operation since last week that was led by Flying Squad boss Musa Yego.
DCI Boss Kinoti told Capital FM News that the factory will remain sealed until the end of the security operation.
“We will not allow the government to continue losing revenue and watch as unscrupulous traders mint money from innocent Kenyans in the name of manufacturing liquor,” he said.
He said an investigation is underway to establish if any government official or agency was colluding with the factory in doing illicit business.
“Anyone who slept on the job will be held to account,” the IG said.
DCI Kinoti said the operation will be extended to other firms.
“This could be happening in many other areas. We must stop it,” he told rpeorters at the favtory after a day-long security operation.