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Court lifts order that closed wines and spirits outlets in Uasin Gishu

RIFT VALLEY
By MICHAEL OLLINGA AND JOAN LETTING | Jul 28th 2014 | 2 min read
One of the ‘wines and spirits’ outlets that had been closed. [PHOTO: STANDARD]

UASIN GISHU COUNTY: The High Court in Eldoret has suspended the directive to have closed all wines and spirits outlets in Uasin Gishu County by the area administration.

On July 14th the county administration held a crisis meeting over the killer brew that claimed 13 lives in the area and recommended for the closure of all bars and pubs trading in wines and spirits.

The order was immediately implemented by the county security team an issue that was not taken well with bar and hotel owners’ association, who approached and prompted the Centre of Human Rights and Democracy (CHRD) to move to court to protest the matter on July 23rd .

CHRD an interested party in the matter pursued the suit on grounds of its mandate to ensure proper governance and justice is administration to the public.

The centre filed a petition over unlawful and arbitrary closure of business premises operating as wines and spirits bar, and discriminatory administration of justice, since not all similar businesses were closed making the owners of the targeted enterprises to suffer huge losses.

Justice Grace Ngenye sought to understand from the respondents comprising the county secretary, county commissioner, county cabinet secretaries and security team, which legal procedure was followed to effect the closure of the businesses.

In her ruling Justice Ngenye ordered that the no evidence to prove that the businesses were illegally operating or their merchandise was illegal and a blanket order was unconstitutional. She questioned why not all businesses were closed.

“In a brief discussion with counsels of both parties there is no evidence of any illegality committed by these businesses, no standard procedure was followed in selecting the closed businesses and no investigation has shown if the drinks were legal or lethal,” she stated.

She added: “As at now it is not procedural for the court to allow the continued closure of the business as it will be rubberstamping an illegality, the respondents need to serve the court with their response within seven days for the matter to proceed.”

The business owners will therefore re-open their outlets on temporary orders awaiting the hearing of the case on August 13th before the same court.

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