The Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI) headquarters on Kiambu Road. The Directorate has issued an advisory to Kenyans regarding the ownership of electronics including phones. [Photo/BT]
The Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI) headquarters on Kiambu Road. The Directorate has issued an advisory to Kenyans regarding the ownership of electronics including phones. [Photo/BT]

The Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI) has cautioned the public against buying electronics from individuals without a physical business premise.

In a series of tweets on @DCI_Kenya, the body said that Kenyans should only get their items from people with documents to engage in the trade.

Electronics ownership proof

“The Public is hereby WARNED never to buy any Electronic Gadget including Laptops, Mobile Phones, TV Sets etc. from an individual or a dealer who has no fixed Physical Address; Identifiable trading Building/ Premises with requisite authorization documents that are conspicuously displayed,” said the DCI.

The documents to be displayed include licenses, permits and other local and/or national approvals.

“Always when buying insist on the issuance of a receipt clearly itemizing the particulars of the bought gadget. Always keep the receipt or secure it electronically by photographing it and archiving in a reliable system e.g. a desktop, added the cautionary message.

The DCI warns that it is risky and dangerous to buy any electronic device from suspicious outlets.

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“Most are those who buy stolen items from armed gangsters who have violently robbed innocent citizens & in the process kill or maim them. Don’t buy a device of a fellow murdered or maimed Kenyan,” said the DCI.

Forensic investigations

Additionally, the Directorate warns that when police forensically investigate and find anyone in possession of such said devices, “by the time it is established that you were not involved in the crime, you may have suffered immensely”.

The DCI added that being found with suspected stolen property, one suffers immediate consequences of the actual criminal, which may escalate to death sentences.

In the cautionary, the DCI said, “We further urge electronic dealers to seize the IT/ICT technology and ensure they mark at the counter every electronic gadget bought by a customer as a value incentive with indelible initials as may please the customer for safety and security purposes.

“This makes it hard for criminals to hawk it and easier for investigative agencies to track and identify. Equally, owners can mark in the same manner through various private experts in the market,” adds the DCI.

The directorate says that you can report in confidence at any police station or the DCI Office in case you have any doubt that you may be harbouring a gadget from a suspicious source.

Locating a lost device

While it is easy to locate a phone or a laptop that you have lost, it is an entirely different story when it comes to other electronics like TVs, music systems etc.

In case one reports to the police, the police triangulate to find the device if it is being used.

The sleuths do this using the unique IMEI number that every phone has.

For other devices, it is not easy unless there is a trail of where the stolen items were taken.

In Kenya, thieves have become notorious for stealing household items and then reselling them as second hand items.

This is what could land you in trouble with the authorities.

While the DCI’s requirement is coming a bit late into the era of device ownership, the tips are valuable to ensure that items owned by Kenyans are traceable. This also ensures safety and security for those who own such items.

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