Regulator nets 5,000 fake phones in Mombasa raid


Fake smartphones nabbed during a past operation in Mombasa. FILE PHOTO | KEVIN ODIT | NMG

A crackdown on mobile phone vendors by the Communications Authority of Kenya (CA) has yielded more than 5000 counterfeit mobile phones in Mombasa County.

The regulator’s coast regional manager, Joseph Kimuge, said the exercise was conducted this month among traders selling the gadgets in the central business district.

Speaking in Mombasa Wednesday, Mr Kimuge said his office has taken more than 20 vendors to court for selling fake mobile phones.

“Some have been convicted and others are still in court. We are planning to dispose the phones. We do not want the market to be infiltrated with fake telecommunication gadgets,” he said.

He warned the public against purchasing cheap fake phones, urging them to go to established outlets instead.

The CA is blaming the black market for smuggling the devices into the country and urged Kenyans to ensure they obtain a warranty after purchase.

“How can you buy a smart phone at Sh1,000? Isn’t that fake? How do you buy a gadget without being issued with a receipt and warranty? It must also have an established repair centre. Through our website, we have published all telecommunication equipment which are supposed to be sold in Kenya,” he said.

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Protect operators, consumers

He said they are conducting the crackdown because the government wants to protect mobile operators from sub-standard telecommunication gadgets.

“This is pure black-market. The phones' quality are compromised to an extent whenever you make a call it doesn’t establish a connection meaning it is of poor quality service,” he added.

He was responding to questions from the participants on the influx of fake mobile phones into the county with some residents saying the devices were posing a health risk.

“Some of us are becoming sick due to these fake phones. For instance, a doctor told me the vibration from my phone was contributing to my sickness,” said forum participant Adhallah Hussein.

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