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Uasin Gishu County bans sale of wines, spirits after toxic brew kills seven

By MICHAEL OLLINGA | Jul 13th 2014 | 3 min read
Some of the alcoholic drinks that were confiscated from bars in Eldoret after seven people succumbed to alcohol intoxication. (Photo: Kevin Tunoi/Standard)

Eldoret, Kenya: Uasin Gishu County government has immediately stopped the sale of wines and spirits until further notice after seven people from the area died after drinking adulterated alcohol.

In a crisis meeting that involved the county governor, commissioner, Medical doctors and other agencies, it was resolved that the sale of wines and spirits which have targeted alcoholic intoxication points be stopped awaiting recommendation from the national administration.

Lydia Yego, the secretary to the County Alcoholic Drinks Control Committee (CADCC) reiterated that it is unfortunate some of the brands suspected to have caused death and optic problems to consumers are being sold by licensed outlets.

“All wines and spirits outlets are going to be closed down until we get further directions after the suspected killer brews are tested by the government chemist, approved by relevant agencies and consistency of quality production guaranteed,” she explained.

“We have resolved that no businessman whether licensed or unlicensed will sell wines and spirits in this area, we want to avert further loses of lives related to alcohol intoxication," said Abdi Hassan the county commission.

Hassan who doubles as the chairperson to the County Security team said the order agreed between the national leadership structure and the county government will be in force immediately, and warned wines and spirits proprietors to shut their businesses.

Bars and supermarkets also distributing the products have been advised to stop further sale until a clear direction is provided.

The commissioner confirmed that there is a surveillance team on the ground to ensure the order is enforced, adding that so far nine sellers of the brews have been arrested to help trace the source of the concoctions.

“We have nine suspects and pursuing more others, we will use them to get to the source of these brews that have resulted to a countrywide crisis, some of the drinks were even confiscated before and it is discouraging to find them back on the counters," he added.

Forty other consumers who were arrested from the Sokomoko Bar in Langas where some of the individuals who succumbed to liquor intoxication are said to have bought the drink have been taken to Moi Teaching and Referral Hospital for tests and advance therapy.

11 brands among them Meakins, Coffee Spirit, Members, Royal, Kenya King, Vennice, Budget, Magic, and Goal have been seized from two bars that allegedly sold alcohol to the deceased and those in hospital.

Barnabas Lihema from the Kenya Bureau of Standards (KEBS) North Rift had a difficult time explaining why the body had failed to assure the consumers of their safety with numerous toxic and adulterated brands dominating the market.

Besides the quality mark they award to manufacturing companies, he failed to explain how the fraudsters have managed to use their assurance certifications to sell toxic drinks.

Governor Jackson Mandago challenged KEBS to take the responsibility of the continuous distribution of toxic liquor, accusing them of laxity to bring to book the perpetrators.

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