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Brewer of the killer liquor ‘out on bond’

Wednesday May 7 2014

An inebriated man sleeps under a bus. PHOTO | TOM OTIENO

An inebriated man sleeps under a bus. PHOTO | TOM OTIENO NATION MEDIA GROUP

NATION REPORTER
By NATION REPORTER
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One of the brewers of the deadly liquor that has so far claimed over 76 lives was arrested but later released on bail.

One distributor of the Wings spirit in Embakasi, Nairobi (name withheld), had been arrested last Saturday, but was released on a Sh10,000 bail.

On Wednesday, Embakasi Deputy OCPD Herman Jefwa said police had launched investigations to ascertain claims that the drink was deadly. “Police in Ruai had arrested him last Saturday, he was later released on cash bail,” he said.

The revelation came after two brands of alcoholic drinks — Wings and Countryman — were identified as the probable cause of the 76 deaths in six counties.

On Wednesday, Mr Fazul Mahamed, a senior director at the National Authority for Campaign against Alcohol and Drug Abuse (Nacada) said one of the drinks — commonly known as Countryman — was being produced by Comrade Manufacturers.

Two of the company owners have been arrested.

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CIRCULATED ILLEGALLY

He said the drink did not conform to the required standards and was being circulated illegally.

“We had called on all brands of alcohol to conform to the public standards; this Countryman is one of the brands that do not conform,” he said.

Kenya Police spokesperson Zipporah Mboroki said that detectives had launched investigations to establish the source of the alcohol, those behind it and its chemical composition.

In the past, brewers added methanol to make alcohol more potent.

According to Dr Johansen Oduor, a pathologist, alcohol which is basically ethanol, mixes with methanol and when it goes to the liver, it is broken down to formaldehyde, which can cause death and blindness.

As gas at room temperature, formaldehyde is colourless but pungent.

Dr Oduor said that it is toxic and also leads to kidney failure and blindness.