Police cite frustration by two centres of power to fight illicit liquor

The Ruiru OCPD, James Ng’etich has accused Kiambu County enforcement officers of frustrating police efforts of fighting manufacture, sale and consumption of illicit liquor.

Ng’etich who was speaking in Ruiru on Monday, after taming an irate group of youths who had barricaded the Ruiru-Kiambu road protesting alleged undue harassment by the County Askaris, lamented that police function in the fight against the illicit liquor has been reduced to detention of suspects waiting to be arraigned in court.

He took issue with the enforcement team whom he said were doing the crackdowns, arresting the culprits and holding exhibits which are supposed to be the reserve of police for submission in court.

There is a major disquiet that we have tried to handle with the County fraternity but we seem to be hitting a dead end. Normally, when outlawed substances are impounded, they become the property of police for submission in court but in this case the County enforcement officers are withholding the exhibits and are calling on us to hold the suspects in custody and produce them in court yet we do not have the exhibits, he wondered.

He said that police have no problem working together with the County Askaris in the war against illicit liquor but due diligence should be adhered to, adding that the County cannot reduce the police role to the simple task of detaining culprits .

The youth who are currently members of the County Rehabilitation program took to the highway and lit bonfires and barricaded Kiambu- Ruiru road protesting what they termed as the resale of confiscated alcohol by a group of unscrupulous County Askaris.

The youths chanting anti- Enforcement Officer, Geoffrey Kaara pointed an accusing finger to the County Askaris who they said were confiscating wines and spirits from retail shops and instead of taking the exhibits to the police station they are ferried to unknown places where they are later sold to willing buyers willing sellers.

Ng’etich said that they will investigate the allegations which he termed as serious and can destroy the reputation of the Kiambu County Alcoholics Rehabilitation program.

Contacted for comment, the County Enforcement Officer, dismissed the accusations and termed the protest as a political game funded by a group of politicians out to discredit the onslaught against illicit liquor orchestrated by the Kiambu County Governor.

He challenged those peddling the malicious rumor that County Askaris were reselling the confiscated alcohol to make official reports to the relevant machineries instead of wasting time and money protesting in the streets.

He maintained that all wines and spirits outlets were operating illegally as they have not been licensed to do so adding that more crackdowns will follow.

Source: Kenya News Agency