Kenya's top liquor makers sue State over raids

Leading manufacturers of alcoholic beverages in the country have sued the Government over the destruction of their products worth Sh12.3 million.

East Africa Breweries Limited (EABL) and UDV Kenya Ltd also want the Ministry of Interior stopped from destroying their alcoholic beverages, which they say are duly licensed.

The two companies have named Interior Cabinet Secretary Joseph Nkaiserry, Inspector General of Police Joseph Boinett and the Kenya Bureau of Standards (KEBS) as respondents in the case. London Distillers has been enjoined in the matter as an interested party.

EABL and UDV want KEBS compelled to publish on its website and at least in one local daily a list of licensed brands of alcoholic drinks.

The two companies are also seeking orders from the court to compel the ministry to publish the criteria for identifying second and third generation drinks that are illicit.

EABL and UDV are also seeking to have the Alcoholic Drinks Control (Supplementary, Licensing) regulations 2015 suspended, pending compliance with Statutory Instruments Act with regards to their products.

Huge losses

As an alternative, they have asked the court to stop the implementation of the Alcoholic Drinks Control Regulations 2015, pending compliance with the Statutory instruments Act.

Through lawyer Kamau Karori, the two brewers noted that the regulations were put in place by the Ministry of Interior to stop the production of illicit brews also known as second and third-generation alcoholic beverages and not licensed brews.

They are aggrieved that traders handling their licensed products have fallen victim to the raids and suffered losses as illicit brews continue being destroyed.

In a sworn affidavit, EABL's Legal Director in Kenya Nadida Rowlands said their distributors and retailers have suffered losses estimated at Sh12.3 million since the crackdown on illicit brews began.

The losses listed on the affidavit have been suffered by various distribution and retail shops in different counties around the country.

"Our products are safe for human consumption and have been certified as such by various regulatory bodies that are charged with the responsibility of verifying the safety of the products," Rowlands stated. The companies expressed concern that if the court fails to grant the orders sought, they would suffer losses as the regulations continue to be implemented without any regard to their licensed products.