Manufacturer raises alarm over fakes

Kenya: Local alcoholic drinks manufacturer London Distillers has raised alarm over the increased counterfeiting of alcoholic products in the country. The firm has claimed that spirits manufactured by a Tanzanian company based in Arusha are being smuggled in large quantities in to Kenya.

They are then used to make alcoholic drinks that are then repackaged and passed on as some of the popular brands made by different companies in the country, including some of its brands. The alcoholic drinks are repackaged using recycled bottles of known brands as well as fake excise duty stamps.

In a letter to the Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA), London Distillers is asking the tax agency to put in place tighter controls at border points in a bid to control the inflow of alcohol from neighbouring countries. The firm is raising the red flag at a time when there is an increase in the amount of unsafe alcoholic products in the country, some of them so potent that they have killed hundreds of Kenyans.

“We wish to inform you that big quantities of spirit is being imported and smuggled into Kenya from (a distillery in Arusha). The same spirit is being used to manufacture counterfeit products of our brands mostly Meakins Vodka and Kenya King in 250 millilitre size bottles,” said London Distillers in a letter to KRA.

“The same manufacturer has imported duplicate caps from China and using our second hand bottles with labels from the market. We kindly request you to liaise with officials from Tanzania Revenue Authority to impose upfront taxes like it is done on spirits in Kenya. This will stop illegal importation of spirits and manufacturing of counterfeit goods in Kenya.”