The owner of the joint that sold illicit brew in Kangai village, Kirinyaga County will be detained for 20 days pending investigations as the death toll of victims rises to 10.
In a statement, the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions (ODPP) said that Baricho Law Courts granted a request by the prosecution to detain John Muriithi Karaya alias Carlifornia at the Kiamaciri police station.
This decision comes in light of the deaths of seven individuals on February 6, 2024, due to the consumption of illicit liquor at California Bar in Kangai village.
"The Baricho Law Courts has today allowed a miscellaneous application by the prosecution seeking to have John Muriithi Karaya alias ‘California’ detained for 20 days at Kiamaciri police station in connection with the deaths of seven people who died on 6th February 2024, due to the consumption of illicit liquor at Kangai, Mwea-Sub County, to allow the police to conclude their investigations," ODPP stated.
The deceased have been identified as Francis Mucheru Mugo (56yrs), Josephine Waguthi (61yrs), Paul Wachira Njiraini (42yrs), John Njoroge Nganga (55yrs), Alice Wanjira (68yrs), Magret Wanjira Njogu (72yrs), and Beatrice Kinyua (70yrs).
Three more have been reported to have died later in the local hospitals where they were admitted.
The ODPP further stated that the investigation aims to uncover the circumstances surrounding the distribution and consumption of the suspected illicit brew.
The matter is set to be mentioned on March 7, 2024.
The Baricho Law Courts has today allowed a miscellaneous application by the prosecution seeking to have John Muriithi Karaya alias ‘California’ detained for 20 days at Kiamaciri police station in connection with the deaths of seven people who died on 6th February , 2024, due to…— Office of The Director Of Public Prosecutions (@ODPP_KE) February 7, 2024
Ethanol in deadly brew
Addressing people who had gathered around the victims on Tuesday, February 6, Kirinyaga Health CEC George Karoki said the symptoms strongly suggested the presence of ethanol in the bootleg alcohol.
"The type of symptoms and signs exhibiting themselves from these particular patients have shown that they had blurred vision, they could not see well," Karoki stated.
"We suspect this illicit brew had ethanol because of the signs and symptoms that they exhibited; it showed that they had blurred vision and could not see well," Karoki told the members of the Forth Estate.
"This type of chemical can cause liver cirrhosis and other nervous system problems, including that sign where they cannot see well."
Karoki noted that one of the victims who was already sick died after being rushed to the hospital.
"There was a case that was referred to Kerugoya County referral hospital, but it could not be managed, and we have reported that that patient died on arrival at the facility."