KENYA – Kenya has suspended licenses of second-generation alcohol manufacturers and distillers pending fresh vetting amid the increasing menace of illicit brews in the country. 

Interior Cabinet Secretary Kithure Kindiki said that the affected parties will have to apply afresh for the license. In addition, to that, all existing valid licences will be vetted afresh within 21 days. 

The suspended licenses include those issued by the Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA) and the Kenya Bureau of Standards (KEBS). 

Pursuant to section 4(2)k of Preservation of Public Security Act, all licenses and certification permits for second-generation alcohol and alcoholic beverage distillers and manufacturers, issued by Kenya Revenue Authority and Kenya Bureau of Standards stand suspended with immediate effect,” he said. 

The CS said only premises whose licenses have been approved will resume operations upon receipt of fresh approval.  

Manufacturers should have quality control laboratories with gas chromatography (GC) and Flame Ionisation Detector (FID) to obtain new licenses.  

Kindiki directed that the system should be operated by competent laboratory analysts whose main responsibility will be testing incoming raw materials and finished products before being released into the market. 

“The laboratories should register with an inter-laboratory comparison provider and submit their QC results to KEBS on a monthly basis,” the CS Said.

Alcohol producers are also required to ensure that they identify and document all traders in their distribution chain and have procedures in place to ensure full traceability from the factory to the end consumer.

KEBS has been directed to ensure that all industrial ethanol is denatured or marked with a denaturing agent within 45 days to prevent diversion and/or inadvertent use of industrial ethanol in production.

Speaking on licensing of bars and other alcohol retail outlets, Kindiki indicated that licenses issued by the county governments, and which contravene the provisions of the Alcoholic Beverages Act have been declared null and void.

“If any bar or alcoholic outlet is found to be operating outside the stipulated hours, the operators shall be liable to a fine or imprisonment as provided by law and all beverages and related accessories in the premises shall be confiscated with the concomitant revocation of the license,” he added.

The ministry will also initiate a meeting with the licensed manufacturers to discuss the emerging menace of illicit brews with bandits and terrorists. 

Pursuant to (1) above, the Ministry of Interior and National Administration invites all currently licensed manufacturers and distillers to a meeting to be held on Tuesday 12th March 2024 at 10 am on the above prescription,” Kindiki said.

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