The Anti-Counterfeit Agency (ACA) is planning to go big on consumer education and installation of punitive penalties on infringement of intellectual property laws as it destroys fake goods worth Ksh24 million.
The state agency tasked to fight trade in counterfeits has today announced it will soon begin interrogations on how best to address the changing face of counterfeiting in the market.
ACA Executive Director Mr Elema Halake said the agency’s biggest concern when it comes to fighting this form of illicit trade should go beyond the protection of industries and manufacturers – to the protection of human life and safety.
“We will spearhead the review of Intellectual property laws and regulations to make them more deterrent to tame dynamics of counterfeiting in the market,” said Mr Halake.
He spoke at Export Processing Zone in Athi River where an array of fake goods ranging from ball bearings used in all moving parts, electronics, electrical goods, clothing, cosmetics/detergents, petroleum products, and vehicle spare parts were destroyed.
A number of food products, stationery, and alcoholic beverages found to pose danger to the society were also destroyed.
Such goods may result into unwanted fires, accidents, machine breakages to deaths, as well as environmental degradation.
“This is a worrisome trend that we vow to eliminate in this country as we address both locally made counterfeits and the imports,” said Mr Halake.
Themed training and awareness programs targeting selected stakeholders such as learning institutions, enforcement agencies, IPR owners and business organisations, and professionals in different fields will be conducted to influence change of mindset for the country towards shunning counterfeits.
“This will also enhance collaborative efforts towards enforcement, public awareness and research-related activities. We want consumers to know counterfeit goods are dangerous and are of no value to them, society, as well the government,” said Mr Halake.
Industry, Trade and Cooperatives Cabinet Secretary Adan Mohamed said government is committed to adding more enforcement officers to help track and crack down on counterfeiters as part of a bigger initiative to counter the illicit trade.
- Billion-shilling counterfeits industry begins to crumble
- Electronics top list of counterfeited products in Kenya
The government’s concerns are on electronics, electricals, and consumable products, security items such as locks, and engine oil and motor spare parts.
“All these pose a health and safety hazard for our people. It is therefore inevitable that for the sake of health and safety ‘we must work together’, let us all take our responsibility towards winning this war,” said Mohamed.
Bearings form the bulk of goods destroyed today at a value of Ksh10.2 million.
The Agency is working hard to build a robust IP crime-fighting institution in the country.
ACA Broad Chairman Mr Pradeep Paunarana said the agency wants to build on its capacity and geographical presence by making regional offices fully operational and increasing staffing levels from 78 to 250 in the next five years.
“We will continue to seek ways of strengthening the existing IP statutes in the country, under the able leadership of the newly appointed ED, Mr Halake. I assure you of my support in all the Agency endeavors and call upon the Ministry officials to grant us the same,” said Mr Paunarana.
ACA has a major presence in Mombasa, Kisumu and Eldoret, all of which serve the entry points for counterfeits.