Economy

Agency blames police for rise in counterfeit goods

The Anti-Counterfeit Agency (ACA) has turned the heat on police officers, accusing them of playing down intellectual property theft complaints as the cost of fake goods in the market hit Sh70 billion annually.

The agency’s acting chief executive, John Akoten, now wants police officers across the country to step up the hunt for merchants of counterfeit products mainly sneaked into the country through porous borders.

At a meeting held with security agencies in Kisumu, Mr Akoten said ACA has also been grappling with insufficient intelligence on the perpetrators of the illicit trade.

“We are going to improve on the spread of information that can help consumers and law enforcement officers learn about the tricks that counterfeiters use today,” Mr Akoten said.

Notorious entry points

The ACA also met manufacturers and asked them to be vigilant amid proliferation of fake goods passed through Malaba and Busia border posts.

Other notorious entry points, he said, are Kisumu and Sio Port which will now be manned fully.

He wants manufacturers to train police officers from time to time to combat the dynamism of the tricks by counterfeiters.

“It is only manufacturers who can differentiate the genuine and fake goods that are traded with their brand names,” he said.

The agency listed consumer goods, among them electronics, alcohol, detergents and computer accessories as the most manufactured on back street shops in major towns.

The authority wants county assemblies to pass laws that will empower county governments to arrest pirates.

Kisumu county commissioner John Elungata said illicit trade was to blame for crime surge in the county.