MULTI-AGENCY CRACKS WHIP ON ALCOHOL OFFENDERS, AS ALCOHOL TOPS LIST OF ILLICIT PRODUCTS

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Of all the counterfeit products smuggled into the country, alcohol topped the list nabbed by the Multi-Agency team against illicit products and counterfeits.

Statistics released by a taskforce led by the Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA), Kenya Bureau of Standards, Anti-Counterfeit Authority, Directorate of Criminal Investigations, and Government Chemist shows that out of KShs. 121 Million goods seized, KShs. 50 million worth of alcoholic products were seized most of which was counterfeit.

The data is drawn from 44 sting operations carried out between Jan-March this year. The taxman’s data shows that KShs. 23 million worth of concealed ethanol was seized to evade taxes, smuggled, and undervalued.

Liquor has also sent many behind bars, with Kenya National Bureau of Statistics (KNBS) saying that one of every five convicted criminals was guilty of alcohol related offences, with the multi-agency crackdowns pushing up the number of felons.

Kenya jails an estimated 25, 000 offenders annually, with alcohol related crimes, according to The Economic Survey 2021. The KNBS data on the other hand shows that 22.1 percent of convicted criminals were jailed from alcohol related offences out of the 77,347 inmates jailed in 2019.

“Liquor offences accounted for the highest number of convicted male and female prisoners at 22.1 percent of inmates followed by offences relating to property at 13.5 percent, and order and administration of Lawful Authority at 3.7 percent,” KNBS is quoted saying by The Business Daily Africa.

Illicit products such as alcohol and ethanol is diverted from other countries through non-gazetted routes along the Kenya-Uganda and the Kenya-Tanzania borders. A study by the National Research Crime Centre states that alcohol smuggling in Kenya, came second to sugar smuggling.

KNBS data however noted that those convicted are now fewer because of the decline of offences by 62% from 2019-2020. Only 29,306 people were convicted in 2020 indicating the effect of restriction of movement and disruption of court proceedings slowed down convictions.

The statistics reflect the good work put in by President Uhuru Kenyatta’s regime, in ensuring that the war against corruption wins. The crime rate is reducing, even as the multi-agency framework tightens the noose on corruption related issues including illicit products.

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