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Counties

High Court throws out case against govt crackdown on gambling

Gambling machines
Police on guard as illegal gambling machines up in smoke. Some 22 operators of betting machines have sued Interior Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiang’i and Attorney-General Kihara Kariuki over the destruction of their devices. 

The High Court in Kakamega has dismissed a case challenging government's decision to crack down on gambling machines.

The decision by Justice Jesse Njagi means western Regional Commissioner Ms Ann Ng’etich can continue with her crusade against gaming businesses in the region.

The case was filed by three businessmen – Mr Kipkemboi Keter, Wesley Kipkemboi and Wesley Maria.

They challenged the Regional Commissioner who issued a circular sent to county commissioners in Busia, Bungoma, Kakamega and Vihiga and directed that there should be no gambling and betting in the counties by June 30, 2018.

“From July 1, 2018, any gambling reported shall attract very punitive disciplinary measures on those areas of jurisdiction,” read a section of the letter.

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In an affidavit sworn on July 12, last year by Mr Kipkemboi on behalf of the other two applicants, he claimed that they operate gambling businesses in most parts of the country.

The three wanted the court to issue an order restraining the respondents from conducting the crackdown.

In his ruling, Justice Jesse Njagi struck out the petition communicated through a letter dated June 22, last year.

Suffer losses

Justice Njagi noted that the petitioners failed to present to the court documented proof to demonstrate that they would suffer losses if the directive was to be implemented.

“The conclusion is that the motion before the court is devoid of merit and is poorly conceived. I hereby dismiss the same with costs to the respondent,” ruled Justice Njagi.

He said that the petitioners had not attached documents to show they were in the business and operated in the premises mentioned in their affidavits.

“They ought to place documentary proof before the court that they run these businesses. They could have done this by attaching licences of the same,” he added.

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