Court battle: 1824 Whiskey Bar cries foul over shut down rules and losing Ksh 45m

Popular city club 1824 says it has lost more than Sh45 million since the state shut them down a month ago for noncompliance with Covid-19 regulations.

In a case filed in court, the management says government officials closed their establishment and they have been losing about Sh1.5 million daily for not operating.

“THE ACTIONS OF CLOSING AND NOT ALLOWING THE CLUB TO CONDUCT THEIR BUSINESS HAS OCCASIONED AND CONTINUES TO OCCASION TO THEM IRREPARABLE FINANCIAL LOSS OF SH1,500,000 A DAY FROM THE DATE OF CLOSURE,” COURT DOCUMENTS READ.

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The petition is filed by Wilson Kanani and Seventeen Forty Nine Ltd. They have sued the Inspector General of Police, the Nairobi regional police commander, the deputy county commissioner, the Lang’ata police station OCS, the Ministry of Health and the officer in charge health in Lang’ata.

Through lawyer Duncan Okatch, the club argues that the authorities have malicious intent because since they were shut down but no charges have been preferred against them.

“THE COURT IS PLEASED TO ISSUE INTERIM ORDERS RESTRAINING THE RESPONDENTS FROM ARRESTING, DETAINING OR INTERFERING WITH THE LIBERTY OF THE PUB OWNER OR THEIR SERVANTS PENDING THE HEARING OF THE CASE,” COURT DOCUMENTS SAY.

They further want the court to order the reopening of the club, pending the hearing of the case.

“THE ACTIONS HAVE RENDERED JOBLESS MORE THAN 100 PERSONS WHO WORK IN THE CLUB AS WAITERS AND WAITRESS, DEEJAYS, SECURITY PERSONNEL, PARKING ASSISTANTS, CLEANERS, COOKS, DANCERS AMONG OTHERS.”

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Okatch says prior to the closure, there had been constant harassment by the police that had even amounted to the “unfair and malicious arrest” of employees.

“THE POLICE HAVE FANGED AGAINST THE ESTABLISHMENT AND ARE MISUSING THE CRIMINAL JUSTICE SYSTEM FOR ABUSE OF POWER AND HARASSING THE CLUB,” DOCUMENTS READ.

He claims that on November 17, police stormed the bar, popularly known as 1824 Whiskey Bar, and without cause or notice, closed down the facility citing failure to comply with Covid-19 directives. The club comprises an entertainment joint and a restaurant. It is situated along Lang’ata Road.

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The club says the actions disregarded the fact that at the time they had complied with all the necessary directives and had in their possession all the relevant compliance certificates issued by the same people who shut it down.

It is also averred that after the place was shut down, they made fresh payments to the relevant authorities to obtain the necessary business permits and Covid-19 clearance.

“HOWEVER, DESPITE PAINSTAKINGLY COMPLYING WITH WHAT THEY WERE ALREADY IN COMPLIANCE WITH, THE AUTHORITIES HAVE MALICIOUSLY INDICATED TO US THAT THEY WILL NOT ALLOW THEM TO CONDUCT THEIR BUSINESS AS SUCH FOR REASONS ONLY KNOWN TO THEM,” THE DOCUMENTS ADD.

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