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Anti-counterfeit body intensifies fight against illicit trade

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The Anti-Counterfeit Authority (ACA) is in the process of implementing varied methods to fight trade in illicit goods that costs Kenya upwards of Ksh 40 billion annually.

The ACA Executive Director Dr Robi Mbugua Njoroge said the Authority has entered a Memorandum of Agreement (MoUs) with other related government agencies and regional countries to collaborate in joint efforts to curb the thriving trade in counterfeit goods.

Dr Njoroge, speaking in a live TV interview, said the Auditor General had flagged anti-counterfeit trade as a menace to the economy that costs the exchequer over Ksh 40 billion in unpaid taxes.

Dr Mbugua said the ACA has rolled out a strategic plan in which it will engage with internal collaborators, sister government agencies and regional anti-counterfeit bodies to work in tandem by sharing information and helping in enforcement of the law against the perpetrators of illicit trade.

Dr Mbugua said: “We have already started establishing frameworks of collaboration with neighbouring counties, specifically with Uganda and Tanzania to help stop cross-border illicit trade both ways.”

He said ACA was also working closely with agencies that share common interest in fighting counterfeits, like the National Police Service, KRA, KEBS and others.

He noted intelligence-sharing across agencies had proved to be effective in slowing down proliferation of fake goods adding that a study by ACA had shown that in about six months, Ksh 200 million worth of counterfeit goods had been confiscated, calling it a commendable effort in the fight against illicit trade that he said should be eliminated completely.

The Executive Director said the Authority had also rolled out an intensive awareness campaign to address the demand side of counterfeit goods, by educating consumers that cheap, illicit goods are expensive going by the damages they cause.

Dr Mbugua said: “Cheap is expensive. This is the message we are spreading out to consumers across the country, through our six regional branches that generally cover all parts of Kenya.”

He said ACA has also embarked on a continuous analysis to identify the most vulnerable goods and to educate the public on all dangers inherent in using fake products.

On June 6, he said, the ACA will host its annual International Symposium on Intellectual Property Protection and Enforcement (ISIPPE) which will take place at the KICC, Nairobi.

The symposium is a regional and international convergence of stakeholders in the Intellectual Property protection and enforcement. The first one was hosted by ACA at the Bomas of Kenya, last year.

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