Beer firm officials face arrest in EABL keg row

KENYA – A court has allowed police and the Anti-Counterfeit Agency (ACA) to arrest and prosecute senior Platinum Distillers officials and agents over the alleged theft of 50-litre keg barrels from EABL, which detectives say are now being used to refill beer manufactured by the local firm.

The High Court has dismissed a petition Platinum Distillers filed last year to stop confiscation of the disputed barrels and arrest of officials and agents of the local beer maker.

Justice John Mativo has ruled that Platinum Distillers failed to furnish the court with any evidence that the ongoing trial of some of the firm’s distributors, and any other arrests that may follow, has been done contrary to the law.

ACA and police have since last year arrested two Platinum Distillers distributors over the theft but they are yet to be arraigned.

The firm holds that the arrests were intimidation tactics initiated by EABL.

“In all honesty, I find nothing in the material before me to show that Platinum’s right to a fair trial has been hampered or threatened in the criminal trial in question nor is there tangible evidence to demonstrate that the police or any of the respondents acted maliciously or outside their powers or that the prosecution in question was commenced without proper or reasonable foundation.

“For avoidance of doubt, I direct that the respondents are at liberty to proceed with the intended arrest and prosecution of Platinum and or its directors or officers in connection with the incidents that gave rise to this petition,” Justice Mativo ruled.

EABL raised complaints with the ACA and police, claiming that Platinum Distillers had been stealing its keg barrels, breaking off their upper rings branded with its name and replacing them with others labelled “Platinum Distillers”.

But Platinum Distillers insisted that the barrels are universal, and that it received confirmation that no company in Kenya has patented any keg barrels.

The local beer maker said that the confiscation of its barrels was an underhand tactic being employed by EABL to hamper its business.

July 17, 2017: Daily Nation

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