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Four oppose switching phones off

By - | September 28th 2012

By Lucianne Limo

Four members of the public have gone to court to stop the Communication Commission of Kenya (CCK) from switching off fake phones on Sunday.

They want CCK barred from switching off the phones of more than three million Kenyans, whom they claim innocently purchased the gadgets with no capacity to determine how the Government allowed them into the market.

The applicants, Japheth Muroko, Roni Achoki, Mark Ndung’u and Mike Mutembei Makarena have sued CCK, the Kenya Revenue Authority and the Kenya Bureau of Standards (KBS).

They accused KBS of not performing its duty of supervising and vetting the entry of phones into the market, adding that the right of information of quality of goods falls on CCK.

“The failure of the respondents to carry out their statutory duty cannot now be visited upon the millions of innocent Kenyans likely to suffer deprivation of fundamental right to own property and basic means of communication,” they said.

They want the court to issue an order barring CCK from switching off the phones until adequate and full compensation is provided to the mobile phone owners likely to be affected by the decision.

They said CCK cannot purport to switch off the phones yet they failed to provide adequate information to consumers as per its founding establishing statute and service charter.

CCK has maintained that all fake mobile phones will be switched of this Sunday.

The three million Kenyans, they contend, have no capacity or capability to identify fake phones once allowed into the market and displayed in shops.

They accused CCK of acting in a discriminatory and selective manner, saying it targets the consumer and not the manufactures or the dealers of fake phones.

They pointed out that the decision, if effected, would allegedly lead to loss of over Sh9 billion expended in purchasing the phones at an average cost of Sh3,000.

Through their lawyer Anthony Oluoch, they argued that CCK took into account extraneous considerations other than the law and welfare of the consumers.

“They may have been influenced by multinational phone company’s intent on having a monopoly in the Kenyan phone market,” they said.

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