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Fake goods worth Sh125m seized in one month: agency

Tuesday May 7 2019

Bamburi Cement Factory staff

Bamburi Cement Factory staff put illicit goods in tyres during the destruction of fake products worth Sh10 million by the government's Multi-Agency Anti-Illicit Trade Outreach, February 22, 2019. PHOTO | WACHIRA MWANGI | NATION MEDIA GROUP 

MOHAMED AHMED
By MOHAMED AHMED
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Counterfeit goods worth Sh125 million have been seized in the last one month across the country, the Anti-Counterfeit Agency (ACA) has reported.

The authority said on Tuesday that at the Inland Container Depot (ICD) in Nairobi alone, fake goods worth Sh85 million were confiscated.

Cargo is transported to the ICD in Nairobi through the standard gauge railway (SGR) from the port of Mombasa.

ACA said the the port remains a notorious gateway for importation of fake goods as 70 per cent of of such good go through.

Most of the goods seized were far from countries in the far East, the authority said, adding they included a 40-foot container of fake circuit breakers from China, valued at more than Sh10 million.

The consignment confiscated last Saturday was of electrical appliances, sportswear and equipment with premium trademarks, vehicle spare parts, digital TV antennae and toners.

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ADVERSE EFFECTS

The authority noted that the counterfeit goods which have flooded the local market led to the loss of 40 per cent of the market by 2018.

Economic experts say there is a high correlation among illicit trade and slow economic growth, development of the local industry and unemployment rates.

Illicit trade crimes are also related to crimes such as bribery, money laundering, the funding of terrorism and tax evasion, according to security players.

Additionally, illicit goods have adverse health, safety and environmental effects to the innocent consumers since they are often of inferior quality and standards.

TACTICS

ACA Executive Director Elema Halake further reported that unscrupulous investors were changing tack.

“They are now involved at several points across the supply chain - manufacturing, importation, distribution, wholesale and retail,” said Mr Halake.

To curb the trend, the authority said it would invest in technology used for monitoring, in line with its mandate of protection of intellectual property owners.

“We are strengthening our capacity to detect counterfeits at the ports of entry through use of modern technology and automation as well as leveraging multi-agency collaboration approaches, which are bearing fruit”, added Mr Halake.

ACA chief communications officer Tom Muteti said advanced technology would be used at every point and for tasks including recordkeeping.

“We are also working with [organisations] including Kebs and KRA in matters intelligence to ensure fake goods are detected before getting into the market,” said Mr Muteti.

ACA is part of the Multi-Agency Anti-Illicit Trade Outreach (MAAITO), that is made up of the Kenya Revenue Authority, Kenya Police and the Kenya Bureau of Standards.