NAIROBI, Kenya, Jun 28 – Counterfeit goods worth about Sh1billion have been confiscated at various stages by the Anti Counterfeit Agency since the inception of the agency in 2010.
This is according to Agnes Karingu Acting Deputy Director from the agency who was speaking during the marking of the World’s Anti-Counterfeit Day.
The agency also confirms that there has been cases in court of counterfeit goods worth over Sh800 million.
Additionally, counterfeit goods worth over Sh600 million have been destroyed, including Monday’s Sh100 million.
“We are doing this to ensure that we protect the property of manufacturers. We are also doing this because we realise that there are so many unscrupulous people who are actively introducing poor quality products in the market hence risking the well being of consumers,” Karingu said.
Expounding on the effects of using counterfeit products, Karingu urged consumers to ensure that they have enough knowledge of the products they buy before consuming them.
“Take the case of the young lady some years back who was electrocuted while taking a shower under an instant shower. We don’t know whether it was the instant shower, the socket, or the fittings. All we know is that the event was as a result of the use of counterfeit products.”
Figuratively, the agency says that the country’s economy loses an estimated Sh70 billion per year to counterfeits.
It also notes that local manufacturers and businesses stand at Sh50 billion per year with the government losing Sh19 billion worth is tax revenues.
Karingu says that the agency is however actively playing its part to combat counterfeiting. For instance, the Agency works with inspectors -provided under the Anti-Counterfeit Act – to receive complaints, investigate, inspect, impound, arrest and prosecute offenders.
Offenders include those found manufacturing o producing counterfeit products in the course of trade and those found possessing counterfeit products in the course of trade. Others include those selling, and distributing for the purpose of trade among others.
At the same time, Kenya Intellectual Property Institute Acting Managing Director Silva Sange urged manufacturers and aspiring business people to acquire a trademark for their products. According to Sange, the use of trademarks creates transparency while ensuring that consumers are protected.
“I’d also ask manufacturers to ensure that they get a trademark in territories they hope to take their products to. This is because trademarks are legible per country but not protected where they have not been registered. This means that a successful company could have a trademark in Kenya and take it to Uganda only to find that his company’s trademark is in use there probably distributing the same product,” Sange said.