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Police seize counterfeited flour as trader arrested

By Joseph Muchiri | January 26th 2020

Robert Makothe from Joy Millers Ltd shows a packet of genuine Raha Premium flour (left) and counterfeited one (right) that were seized from a wholesale shop in Kianjokoma market, Embu County. The shop’s owner was arrested. [Joseph Muchiri, Standard]

Police in Embu have seized counterfeit maize flour from a wholesale shop in Kianjokoma market.

Following a tip-off from the public, police and officials from Joy Millers Ltd raided the shop and confiscated tens of bales of counterfeited Raha Premium flour.

The shop’s owner was arrested and is expected to be arraigned tomorrow.

A director at Joy Millers Ltd Jacqueline Chomba said they took action after suspecting their brand was being counterfeited following numerous complaints by customers.

Speaking at the scene, Chomba said the trader had packets that were branded to imitate Raha Premium Flour and filled with maize flour.

“Our customers have been complaining about bitter ugali or the unga containing sand particles. Our sales had also been declining. After our investigations, we learnt that they had bought the flour from Kianjokoma. We informed the police who accompanied us to the premises of this trader,” she said.

She added that last year the miller had been hit by a wave of counterfeit flour until they were forced to change the packaging, incurring losses running millions of shillings.

She said they were surprised that the new packaging had been counterfeited after just a few months.

The counterfeit flour lacked a batch number while the brand colours in its packet were faded.

The flour is course and darkish compared to the genuine flour which is fine and white, observed Ms Chomba.

She said the suspect is one of their biggest customers as he makes orders of even Sh1 million, but they discovered he sells it alongside the counterfeited ones.

Robert Makothe, an official of the miller, said they were concerned that the counterfeit flour was not handled hygienically and could have exposed consumers to health risks and they would end up being blamed.

They called on the Anti-Counterfeit Authority to intensify raids in the countrywide and nab wayward traders, who could be doing their illegal businesses undeterred.

Raha Premium is a popular brand of flour in the area, with shoppers referring to it as kavagara.

Several other shops were found selling the counterfeit flour which according to Makothe was supplied to them without their knowledge.

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