The fight against Drug and Alcohol Abuse has gone a notch higher after the government gave the National Authority (NACADA) more powers to enforce laws on alcohol abuse.
The Cabinet Secretary, Ministry of Interior and National Administration Kithure Kindiki Friday announced the strengthening of the authority’s legal mandate to enforce the Alcoholic Drinks Control Act (ADCA), 2010, as well as the NACADA Act, 2012 following the gazettement of Authorized Officers as is required by the two statutes.
With the new development, NACADA’s authorised officers may, at any time, enter any place in which they believe on reasonable grounds that any person or persons is in any way contravening the provisions of the law.
Reacting to the news, NACADA Chief Executive Officer Dr. Anthony Omerikwa observed that the development will allow the Authority to execute its compliance and enforcement mandate in a legally binding environment.
“I want to sincerely extend the Authority’s gratitude to the Cabinet Secretary, Ministry of Interior, and National Administration for this affirmation of the government’s steadfast support to the campaign against alcohol and drug abuse in the country. This now means that NACADA can fully implement its supply suppression strategies confidently 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 Omerikwa.
According to Section 52 of the ADCA, 2010, when inspecting any place an authorized officer may; examine an alcoholic drink or anything referred to in that section; and require any person in such place to produce for inspection, in the manner and form requested by the officer, the alcoholic drink or thing; open or require any person in the place to open any container or package found in the place that the officer believes on reasonable grounds contains the alcoholic drink or thing; conduct any test or analysis or take any measurements; or require any person found in the place to produce for inspection or copying, any written or electronic information that is relevant to the administration or enforcement of the Act.
“This is welcome news for us, especially at this time when we are heading to the festive season. I want to assure the public that moving forward, we shall do things differently to ensure that the law is followed as expected. We are also calling on all stakeholders in the alcoholic drinks space to play within the rules to avoid legal action,” added Omerikwa.
In a gazette notice published on Friday 1st December 2023, the Cabinet Secretary listed the names of the officers who with the consent of an occupant or under the authority of a warrant issued by a magistrate or judge of the High Court authorizing the person named in the warrant may enter and inspect a dwelling place.
The law further clarifies that the time of such entry shall be between six o‘clock in the forenoon and six o‘clock in the afternoon of any day of the week.
NACADA’s officers executing the warrant shall not use force unless they are accompanied by a police officer and the use of force is specifically authorized in the warrant.
To ensure the proper execution of duties by the authorized officers the law prohibits obstruction or hindrance, or knowingly making a false or misleading statement to an authorized officer who is carrying out duties.
Previously, NACADA had to rely on the National Police Service officers to enforce its laws. Its sole mandate was limited to undertaking public education and awareness campaign against alcohol and drug abuse in schools, workplaces, colleges, universities, technical institutions, county governments, ministries, parastatals, national government administrative offices, faith-based institutions, Community Based Organizations, Non-governmental Organisations.
The expanded mandate affords officers of the Authority operational independence, and they may request the support of police officers only where necessary.