Investigative agencies yesterday nabbed counterfeit products worth Sh20 million at the Kenya-Tanzania border.
The assortment of goods, including books, shoes, and soap were imported from abroad through the Dar es Salaam port and were destined for Nairobi and Mombasa.
A police inventory of the cache revealed the bust had netted 36,456 copies of secondary school literature books (The pearl - 8736, David Mulwa's Inheritance – 6720, A Doll's House – 16200 and Memories We Lost -4800).
Also found during the operation were 834 pairs of Nike, Gucci, Fila, and Adidas shoes; 1800 pieces of counterfeit Imperial leather soaps and 1860 Union door locks.
Anti-Counterfeit official stationed at the Namanga border, Mr Abdi Huessein involved in the operation has intimated that the specificity of the raid and the faces behind the racket will be revealed on Tuesday.
The multi-agency raid is the second in a month after another uncovered an underworld of counterfeits at a building on Duruma Road in downtown Nairobi.
The busts come in the wake of a KTN News investigations desk exposé of a racket involving bookshops that counterfeited school books.
Sources told Standard Digital that the seized items are linked to the same cartel that operated its paradise in Nyamakima.
The group was reportedly scuttled on October 4 when the Flying squad unit raided its hideout and recovered counterfeits including books, tea, cosmetics, and milk powder.
The government recently involved the services of a South Africa-based firm, Brand ID, to help in identifying the real copies from the fake ones.
The Ministry of Education called on the Brand ID to serialise books by placing a unique code on each copy in which the buyers can verify its authenticity through SMS.
Once a buyer messages the code to 22776 for free of charge, they will get an automatic message telling them if the copies of the books are genuine.
The Kenya Publishers Association chair Lawrence Njagi revealed to KTN News that securing their books has increased sales and reduced piracy from 39 per cent to 17 per cent.
“This technology works almost similar to mobile airtime. If you get a digit wrong, then the entire code is wrong and cannot be verified," Brand ID CEO Allan Thompson notes.
Allan explains, “With this technology, every product has a unique 16-digit code, unlike others which provide a similar code for all products manufactured by a company. The disadvantage of having one code is that when counterfeiters crack it, the mess with the entire chain of production.”
The introduced securities have, however, not run the counterfeiters out of business as lax trials often release them back to the vice.
Litigating piracy in Kenya has been an uphill task, an advocate of the High Court Liz Lenjo notes.
She says it is new ground for most lawyers and judges, advocates are yet to adjust fully to the ever-changing face of piracy.
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