Kiambu bar, hotel owners cry foul over police harassment

By , K24 Digital
On Sun, 24 May, 2020 11:53 | 2 mins read
Kiambu bar owner
Emma Wangui displays permits granted by the Kiambu County Publich Health Department, licences disowned by the Ruiru police commander who raided her bar. PHOTO | OLIVER MUSEMBI

Bar and hotel owners in parts of Kiambu are crying foul over alleged police harassment in the guise of implementing Covid-19 regulations.

However, police are pointing fingers at the Kiambu County public health department officials, accusing them of colluding with bar and liquor sellers by issuing ‘fake’ licenses to conduct business against government regulations.

Kiambu County Liquor Welfare Association Secretary Amos Kibe said a number of their members have complained that their premises were raided by police officers despite having complied with the Ministry of Health regulations regarding the re-opening of hotels and restaurants.

Kibe spoke in the wake of recent reports in which policemen have been accused of harassing and physically assaulting bar owners, including a widow from Juja who was brutally beaten up at Kenyatta Road Estate by law enforcement officers.

After arresting the woman, the officers also seized her stock.

The latest target of this alleged harassment by law enforcers is Abbyz Lounge Restaurant in Ruiru where police this week carted away an assortment of alcoholic drinks valued Sh400,000 and arrested patrons and workers, claiming the premises was operating against the law.

The proprietor, Emmah Wangui, said she was shocked when the local OCS ordered her officers to close the hotel even after she met all the government requirements, including inspection by public health officers and testing of workers for coronavirus.

“As a woman investor, I feel insecure and targeted after the recent Juja case. I am pleading with the government through our governor and the county police commander to intervene,” she said.

Two of her staff were released on the Sh10,000 police bond each and are expected to appear in court on June 17.

Ruiru Sub County Police Commander, Mutwiri Ringera, said no restaurants in the area were licensed to operate.

“We are aware that some public health officials are colluding with bar owners to allow them to operate by issuing licenses which are not valid,” said Ringera.

Some of the arrested patrons said they were released after parting with Sh3,000 bribe each.

Last week, the owner of Kaska Inn Pub said she was beaten up and injured by policemen from Juja who also stole Sh43,000 from her.