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Kenya’s anti-counterfeit agency confiscates fake goods worth Sh1 billion

NEWS
By Moses Michira | June 29th 2016
Government officials inspect agro-chemicals believed to be counterfeit. Estimates indicate that the trade in counterfeit goods accounts for about 2.5 per cent of world trade.

NAIROBI: The Anti-Counterfeit Agency in Kenya has seized fake goods worth more than Sh1 billion, highlighting the magnitude of the problem.

ACA yesterday said it had confiscated the products, a day after goods worth about Sh100 million were destroyed through burning.

Destruction of most of the fake goods has, however, been held back by litigation after the owners moved to court.

The agency, which marked the annual World Anti-Counterfeiting Day yesterday, urged consumers to be vigilant as they too are critical stakeholders in fighting counterfeits.

“Whenever consumers buy fake items, they put their lives and those of their families at risk as these goods do not undergo any quality control checks.

"Counterfeiting has an impact on the economy as it pushes legit enterprises out of business. Counterfeiters are not creators of sustainable jobs, they do not pay taxes and they kill innovation,” said Mrs Agnes Karingu, the Acting Deputy Director Research and Awareness.

The anti-counterfeit day is a global initiative started 18 years ago to enhance the fight against fake products. In 2016, the event theme and activities are expected to increase awareness on counterfeiting among stakeholders including consumers, who have in many instances been duped to buying fakes.

Mrs Karingu spoke on behalf of the Executive Director of ACA John Akoten in a conference where the value of intellectual property rights in economic development was raised. Mr Akoten is currently defending himself over claims of forging number plates of his official vehicles, but his officials defended him, saying the registration numbers were legitimate only that his driver sought to procure them illegally.

“We are looking at raising awareness and in turn protect consumers, government and investors from counterfeited and pirated goods, thereby facilitating economic development in Kenya,” she said.

ACA anticipated that the collaboration among the different stakeholders would help reduce the number of fakes in the market and with the aim of eliminating the trade.

“Although counterfeiting poses significant threats to our economy, there are many steps that manufacturers, consumers, and governmental entities can take to make counterfeiting more difficult, riskier, and less profitable,” said Mrs Karingu.

Estimates indicate that the trade in counterfeit goods accounts for about 2.5 per cent of world trade.

Locally, the Kenya Association of Manufacturers estimates that the private sector loses Sh50 billion annually in sales revenue while the government loses Kshs19 billion as tax revenue due to counterfeiting.

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