Counterfeit goods worth Sh100 million were yesterday impounded at the Port of Mombasa as the government renewed its war on illicit commodities that have flooded the market.
The goods included sugar, shoes and tobacco. They were held at the port and at a go-down in Changamwe awaiting destruction. The owners will be prosecuted.
The impounded sugar is worth Sh30 million, shoes (Sh40 million), electronic cables (Sh9 million) and tobacco (Sh20 million).
The 500 tonnes of seized sugar allegedly bears the name Kakira Sugar, from Uganda. The counterfeit tobacco, imported from South Africa under the brand name Bringi Filter, is at the KPA customs warehouse in two 20-feet containers.
The impounded shoes are branded “Simberland”, seemingly to pass off as Timberland.
Senior port officials said 90 per cent of all imported goods at the harbour are from China and India.
Anti-Counterfeit Agency (ACA) officials on Friday told Industrialisation and Enterprise Development Cabinet Secretary Adan Mohammed that fake goods sneak into the country through consolidated cargo.
“Consolidated cargo is increasing by the day. As a result, counterfeit goods are sneaking through. Verification of consolidated cargo is a nightmare for law enforcement agencies due to shortage of manpower, machinery and time,” said ACA Coast regional boss Ibrahim Bule.
But Mr Mohammed said all transit goods passing through the harbour must be inspected “so that they are not diverted back to the country.
Crooks think that if they are caught in Kenya, they will declare the items as transit goods”.
Speaking at the harbour while inspecting the goods, the CS said traders involved in counterfeit goods are sophisticated.
He said the ministry has zoned in some areas that are becoming avenues for counterfeit electronics, gas cylinders, tobacco and pharmaceuticals.
“Many counterfeits come through the port. They will be destroyed before they start causing problems,” he added.
He said the government would conduct random inspection of containers to check on counterfeits.
“The brand owner of the sugar had raised a complaint. That is how the counterfeit was captured. The owners will be dealt with,” said the CS.
He said the government would also reinforce various other entry points. “We will work with all authorities to make sure we open containers on a random basis, although there will be some inconvenience initially.
I appeal to port users who have been used to faster clearance to understand,” he said.
Mr Mohammed added: “The inconvenience will not be permanent. You will see the impact we will have. This menace is destroying our businesses”.
The CS said the war on counterfeits will be reinforced to protect Kenyan industries.
“Counterfeited goods are among the biggest threats to our industries, with lost revenues running into billions and posing myriad health dangers,” he added.
The CS met stakeholders, port operators and representatives from East African Community countries — Uganda, Burundi, Rwanda and Tanzania.
The weekly meetings are meant to deliberate on issues affecting smooth operations of the harbour.