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KEBS intensifies surveillance at border points

16 December 2014, 12:58 Jane Zack

Busia - Kenya Bureau of Standards (KEBS) has intensified its surveillance in Malaba and Busia border towns following reports of cartels that have been taking advantage of the porous borders of the two border towns to sneak in contraband and counterfeit goods into the Kenyan market.

Speaking to journalists, the officer in-charge of KEBS in Malaba Patrick Kiptoo said that the goods especially beer meant for export has found itself in local market, brought in by cartels who aim at evading taxes and target to get more  profit using short-cut means.

"Together with our counterparts Kenya Revenue Authority, we have identified some of the cartels and whoever will be arrested operating such a business is going to face the full force of the law," Kiptoo said.

He further added that they have been facing challenges in performing their duties due to the porous state of the Malaba and Lwakhakha borders, a problem he hopes will be sorted out with the introduction of the an initiative of the East African Community, One Stop Border Post, that is expected to take effect soon.

His remarks come a few days after a joint swoop operation led by the KEBS Lake Region officers and Kenya breweries Limited led to the arrest of more than 22 bar and pub owners along the border town and more than 250 crates of beers meant for export that were found in the local market confiscated, most of it being Tusker Lager and Guinness brands.

The officer is now calling upon club and bar owners to get and sell certified products as the counterfeit and contraband ones pose a health risk to consumers.

Some of the suspects were taken to court and charged, while others are yet to be arraigned as they are helping police and KEBS officers in investigations.

Busia County Commissioner, Isaiah Nakoru has warned bar and hotel owners against the vice saying that whowever will be found guilty will face the full force of the law.

He added that even as free movement of people is allowed at the Busia border, a lot of focus has been put at the border points to ensure that security is maintained and those committing offenses are arrested.

"We are also warning bar owners not to allow school going children into their premises during this festive season, failure to which their licenses will be withdrawn immediately," Nakoru stated.

He urged administrators at village levels to ensure that night dances at funerals commonly known as 'disco matangas' are minimized and called upon parents to ensure that their children are at home on time in a bid to tame the vice.

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