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Last Updated: Monday, 5 May, 2003, 12:59 GMT 13:59 UK
Kenyans queue for beer money
People queuing to claim their prize
Up to 1,000 people had the winning number

Hundreds of people have been queuing to receive their prizes following a mix-up in a beer bottle-top promotion.

The company, Kenya Breweries Limited (KBL), has set up of a fund of 45m Kenyan shillings (about $590,000) after more than 500 alleged winners took the company to court, the Daily Nation newspaper reported.

More than 1,000 people say they had bottle-tops inscribed with 5774 - the winning number in the beer promotion.

Crowds of "winners" rushed to the offices of KBL last week, each demanding the top prize of 20,000 shillings ($260). Police used tear-gas to disperse them.

Unimpressed

Managing director James Musyoki announced on Wednesday that the fund had been created as a "goodwill gesture".

But some of those queuing in the Nairobi rain were not impressed.

"This is nothing like a goodwill gesture," shouted Irongo Kimani, 34, unwrapping a handkerchief to show a bottle cap with the number 5774.

"KBL hiked the price of beer by 5 shillings after the promotion was cancelled to raise money from us to be used to pay us. At the same time, they say that we may receive less than what is printed on the beer caps if too many claimants show up." he said.

Claimants must register by Monday.

'Biggest debacle'

The prize of 20,000 shillings is equivalent to several weeks' wages for many people.

The lottery was suspended amid suspicions of fraud.

Inquiries into the apparent mix-up of the winning number have been launched by the government and the brewery.

The Daily Nation described the incident as "the biggest promotion debacle in Kenya and the first time Kenya Breweries - which offers some of the richest lottery prizes - has encountered such a problem in its 80-year history."




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