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Firm: 'We’re not to blame for illegal products'

By Kamau Muthoni | Published Thu, July 12th 2018 at 00:00, Updated July 12th 2018 at 14:28 GMT +3
Contraband sugar found hidden in warehouses in Eastleigh, Ruiru and Nairobi’s Industrial Area is withheld at CID headquarters on Wednesday, June 13, 2018. [David Njaaga, Standard]

NAIROBI, KENYA: An Indian firm contracted by the Kenya Bureau of Standards (Kebs) for supply of secure import standardisation mark stickers and stamps has denied reports of engaging in shoddy work leading to proliferation of fake products in the market.  

Madras Security Printers now says fake standardisation strikers allegedly being used in the market did not originate from their firm.

Reacting to reports of a scheme by unscrupulous traders to evade quality checks by Kebs, the firm maintained stickers it manufactures are in line with tender specifications.  

In a press statement yesterday, the company said it is ready to work with investigative agencies to identify perpetrators of copied marks.

The firm maintained it had provided additional security features on product stickers above the tender requirements and that the source of the fake stickers should be investigated and prompt action taken. 

"In our opinion, rather than target the genuine manufacturer, the DCI and DPP should focus on identifying the perpetrators of the fake marks. The real culprits are roaming free," it said.

"All Import Standardization Marks (ISM) are made as per the specifications in the tender. Fakes may be present in the market but they do not originate from us. Consumers should authenticate the overt security features on the marks such as the country map of Kenya which changes colour from black to green," the firm added.  

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"We fully deny the allegations," said Madras Senior Manager Ramachandran Natarajan.

The official said they had invested and setup their encoding centre inside Kebs premises so that the process can be monitored and controlled by Kebs.

"The centre is secured using various technologies as access control, CCTV, restricted access mechanism, and single point of entry. In addition, there is no blind spot in the entire encoding Centre as the full area is monitored by CCTV cameras," it said in the statement.

Kebs had floated the stickers tender in January 2015. Madras Security Printers Private, Systemedia Technologies, Sintel Security Printers Solutions, Pinnacore Printers, SICPA Security Solutions SA and De La Rue were the bidders.

"All our products are manufactured using state of the art equipment. Our systems are fully secure," Natarajan said. "Where we operate inside Kebs premises has several access control technologies. The encoding centers are under surveillance."  

The reaction came amid raging debate over the importation of contraband sugar, with pressure mounting on Kebs and the Kenya Revenue Authority.  

Import Standardization Marks stamps are affixed to imported goods before they are sold to consumers locally in Kenya.

They are a mark of quality assurance about the health and safety of products including food, toys, electrical goods and alcohol. The mark contains information regarding the import, brand name, product number, county of origin and certificate of compliance.

"For the last 10 to 15 years we have been doing security printing for various government agencies in Kenya," added Natarajan.


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