How fake liquor is smuggled into Kenya from Uganda - Daily Nation

How rogue traders sneak in illicit liquor through the Uganda border

Wednesday October 31 2018


Fake alcohol destroyed in Nairobi on June 2, 2018. KRA has failed to fully utilise a multi-billion-shilling system to stop their entry into the local market and seal tax-evasion loopholes. PHOTO | COURTESY 

More by this Author

On May 30, 2018, police in Eldoret, Uasin Gishu County, arrested three men suspected to have been part of a group selling illicit brews in Munyaka estate and its environs.

This is after security officers netted more than 300 sachets of illicit liquor-simba waragi- believed to have been smuggled from Uganda.

The consignment was impounded at a house in the estate. Police also impounded a motorbike used to supply the liquor.

The Nation has since established that some unscrupulous traders have devised new ways of sneaking in the illicit brews. 

They use trains, long distance trucks and public vehicles to import illicit brew into the country through its porous borders in Busia and Bungoma counties.

Investigations by the Nation established that a majority of the liquor coming to Kenya through the porous borders are counterfeits.

They are golden lion brand, simba waragi, coffee spirit, senator keg, Guinness, tusker, tiger among others.


For instance, a bottle of Guinness in Kenya normally retails at Sh200 and the one imported from Uganda is sold between Sh80 and Sh100 and according to its brand label, it has a higher alcoholic content.

A jug of Senator keg goes for Sh100 in the Kenyan market and the one from Uganda is sold at between Sh40 and Sh60 along the border. It is also reported to have a higher alcoholic content.

Two years ago, police in Eldoret nabbed over 300 sachets of illicit brew at Jua Kali trading centre, several kilometres from the town.

The alcohol valued at over Sh108,000 packed in six sacks, were being transported by a matatu to Eldoret from Bungoma town.

Police investigations revealed that the illicit brew was manufactured and packed in Uganda before finding its way into the country.

Upon arrival in Eldoret, the illicit brew which is mainly packaged in sachets is distributed to dealers using boda bodas.

Uasin Gishu County Commissioner Abdi Hassan has warned that the national government will keep a keen eye on cross-border business with a view of ensuring that no illicit brew makes its way into the country.

The Kenya Revenue Authority in the region said that the peddlers avoid police roadblocks.​