Plant for bottling counterfeit alcohol raided in Meru

Written By: Claire Wanja

Counterfeit Agency
The Anti-Counterfeit Agency is responsible for coordinating the Kenyan Government efforts in protection of Intellectual Property (IP) rights, including patents, designs, trademarks and copyrights.

Inspectors from the Anti-Counterfeit Agency raided a home at the outskirts of Laare town in Meru County and arrested six people in an undercover operation.

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Around 50,000 liters worth KSH 40Million of five different trademarks of spirits were seized from the premises on a farm on Monday evening.

The operation was led by the Anti-Counterfeit Agency Manager in charge of Enforcement Mr. Lindsay Kipkemoi and police from the Criminal investigations Department. Mr. Kipkemoi said Mr. Koomeconsidered as the main suspect and untouchable kingpin of the bootlegging scene, escaped after the inspectors raidedhis factory home. Six others — were also arrested during the raid.

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The ‘factory’ was arranged in a production line system; Officers seized all the production line apparatus, mixing tank, and containers, along with packaging, bottles and labels which were all counterfeit.

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The officers recovered 11 Rolls of 25000 pieces KRA Stamps worth 27 Millionduring the crackdown. Hundreds of counterfeit labels of known Kenya-owned trademarks were also confiscated. Also recovered were10 drums of Industrial chemical ethyl used in making the alcohol also sized.

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Mr. Kipkemoi expressed the government’s commitment in fighting all types of trade in counterfeits in the country saying; ‘The Agency has put enough measures to win this war. We’re very concerned about this trend in the availability of counterfeit alcohol even in the rural poor areas.”

He warned on the dangers of consuming counterfeit alcohol since its quality and standard is always in doubt.

“You don’t know what’s in it in terms of the actual chemicals – and you don’t know the strength of what you’re drinking because it’s not been produced to the standards of genuine alcohol. They used Ethyl chemicals which is an industrial chemical used for making cleaning agents”.

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The suspects will charged under Sections 32 of the Anti-Counterfeit Act 2008 for manufacturing and being in possession in the course of trade in counterfeit goods. Other key government Agencies like NACADA, KRA, and KEBS will also prefer charges as per their mandates.

Investigations into the whereabouts of the main suspect are underway, Mr. Kipkemoi said.

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