The loopholes counterfeiters exploit

Published on 18/01/2009

By James Ratemo

LG Regional Marketing Manager George Mudhune says our borders and ports are porous and we have not enacted the Anti-Counterfeit bill.

“We need stringent punitive measures against peddlers of counterfeit goods. Our laws are not deterrent enough to would be counterfeit gurus,” he argues.

Other countries are dealing with it differently. Nokia General Manager for East Africa, Gerard Brandjes, says the Ghanaian Government in its Budget last year waived duties and taxes on mobile phones due to the realisation that many people easily smuggle mobile phones. He encourages EA states to waive duty on mobile phones.

“With counterfeits, the Government is denied revenue since such goods are shipped or diverted into the country under great secrecy. Buyers also get a raw deal since the goods may be defective or not configured to serve the buyer’s country or market,” adds Mudhune.

In 2006, Kenya’s first-ever Anti-Counterfeit Bill was published and lapsed in Parliament. The Bill was republished last year on July as the Anti-Counterfeit Bill 2008. With the spread of counterfeit products reaching an alarming proportion Parliament should enact the Anti-Counterfeit law with speed.

However, the widespread scepticism on how the Bill would be implemented when it becomes law due to the nature of the counterfeit industry and laxity on the part of enforcing agencies, the police and the Kenya Bureau of Standards should be reanalysed.

The Bill proposes the establishment of the Anti-Counterfeit Agency to, among others, combat counterfeiting, trade and other dealings in counterfeit goods in the country. It criminalises possession and manufacture of counterfeits.

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