, NAIROBI, Kenya, Apr 17 – Users of counterfeit products are being warned they could be funding organised criminal organisations in the country.
Speaking during an anti counterfeit workshop in Nairobi, HP’s Anti Counterfeit Program Manager Tina Rose said setting up counterfeiting rackets required a lot of money and criminals would readily invest in it.
“Counterfeit operations require loads of money to establish and criminals would readily invest in it either to launder money or acquire money to fund their operations,” she said.
Ms Rose highlighted the sheer nature of the distribution network required to sell fake products as an indicator of criminal activity.
“One would need to go round identifying products to duplicate, setting up a base for operations and a high level distribution chain to sell the fake goods.”
She further pointed out that counterfeiters were becoming more and more sophisticated in the way they conduct business making it equally difficult to identify genuine products from fake ones.
“Counterfeiters realised that if they made products look similar and invested more money in producing very good quality counterfeits then they could deceive buyers easily and make even more money.
Counterfeiting in Kenya has been an ever growing industry in Kenya that it even enlisted reactions from the US ambassador Michael Ranneberger who said it should be dealt with the same way impunity is tackled.
One reason the industry has grown is be due to the weak legislation that exists in tackling the menace. Those involved usually get light prison sentences or even get away with fines.
The Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) estimates the annual value of international trade in counterfeit goods at $200 billion.
The World Customs Organization (WCO) and the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) believe that counterfeiting drains an estimated EUR 500 billion per year from the global economy, equivalent to the loss of about 5-8 percent of trade in brand-name goods worldwide.
It is estimated that around 200,000 jobs are lost in Europe alone due to counterfeiting activities highlighting the seriousness of the issue.