Why Nairobi’s Director Of Liquor Board Was Kicked Out

Barely a month after the Director of Nairobi Liquor Board Hesborn Agwena was kicked out of office, details have now emerged on the behind the scene meetings that led to his removal. Mr Agwena has since been transferred to the licensing department but without an office and specific duties. 

According to sources well versed with the happenings at the department, it is alleged that his removal from the directorship of the liquor board was a result of numerous complaints from both his junior staff and members of the public. Last month, Hesborn single handedly ordered the closure of 41 bars and restaurants allegedly over uncontrolled noise.

It is said he did this to serve the interest of some of his masters who wanted the clubs closed as a matter of business rivalry. It is further alleged that during his tenure, he failed to meet set revenue collection targets because most bars, clubs and restaurants are operating in Nairobi without licenses.

Last year, it is alleged that he issued licenses without any participation by residents and various security committees as required by law. Most of these licenses were awarded within a period when even the liquor board was not properly constituted and he did all that without following laid down procedures. According to sources, between 2021 and August 2022, he refused to close down specific unlicensed bars in the city after the owners allegedly talked to him favorably. 

Hesborn is said to be an lone ranger who does not consult before taking some actions. There have been complaints from his juniors whom he sends out to carry out operations and instead of arresting and arraigning culprits in a court of law, he instructs them to do the opposite. Our attempts to get a comment from him about the allegations did not bear any fruit since he refused to respond to our Whatsapp questions.

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