Government gives Nacada power to enforce laws against alcohol abuse

Photo credit: File | Nation Media Group

The government has given the National Authority for the Campaign Against Alcohol and Drug Abuse (Nacada) more powers to enforce laws against alcohol abuse.

With this new development, Nacada's authorised officers will be able to enter any premises they believe to be in breach of the law at any time.

Previously, Nacada had to rely on law enforcement officers. The latest development, however, gives the agency's officers operational independence, and they can request the assistance of police officers only when necessary. 

The mandate of Nacada is to coordinate a multi-sectoral campaign and disseminate basic knowledge on the prevention, control and mitigation of ADA and related harms in Kenya.

Nacada Chief Executive Officer Anthony Omerikwa noted that the development will enable the Authority to carry out its compliance and enforcement mandate in a legally binding environment.

"This means that Nacada can now confidently implement its supply suppression strategies with the full backing of the law. These are some of the teething problems that have been acting as stumbling blocks to the effective implementation of our mandate, but I am glad that we are now past that," said Mr Omerikwa.

According to the law, when inspecting any place, an authorised officer may examine any alcoholic drink or anything referred to in this section; and require any person in that place to produce for examination, in the manner and form required by the officer, the alcoholic drink or thing.

Further, the law empowers an officer to compel any person in the place to open any container or package found in the place which the officer believes on reasonable grounds to contain the alcoholic drink.

By law, Nacada officers may also conduct any test or analysis or take any measurement and require any person found in the place to produce for inspection or copying any written or electronic information relevant to the administration or enforcement of the Act.

"I want to assure the public that we will do things differently in the future to ensure that the law is followed as expected. We also call on all stakeholders in the alcoholic drinks space to play by the rules to avoid legal action," Mr Omerikwa added.

In a gazette notice published on Friday, 1 December 2023, Interior Cabinet Secretary Kithure Kindiki, listed the names of officers who may enter and inspect a premises with the consent of an occupant or under the authority of a warrant issued by a magistrate or High Court judge authorising the person named in the warrant.

The law also states that the time for such entry must be between 6am and 6pm on any day of the week.

Nacada officers executing the warrant may not use force unless they are accompanied by a police officer and the use of force is specifically authorised in the warrant, the authority said.