City traders up in arms after agency raids over counterfeits - BREAKING KENYA NEWS

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Saturday, 13 April 2019

City traders up in arms after agency raids over counterfeits

Nairobi shops raid

A section of small scale traders in Nairobi on Friday censured the Anti-Counterfeit Agency (ACA) after chaos broke out as it raided several shops in the central business district and confiscated goods.
The raids were conducted after a HP private-eye, Halliday Finch, informed the agency that two shops in the area were dealing in counterfeit HP products, said Ibrahim Bulle, ACA’s officer in charge of enforcement of operations in the Nairobi region.
But the traders, through the Importers and Small Traders Association of Kenya (ISTA), claimed the agency stormed their premises despite a notice they issued earlier seeking guidelines and a cordial hunt for the products.
“They ambushed us early in the morning. Some shops which were not yet open were broken into and the goods therein; whether genuine or counterfeit, seized,” said Francis Njau, chairperson of the Crossroad Zone of the ISTA.
He claimed the agency broke into five shops, resulting in retaliatory attacks by traders, hence the chaos and the deployment of anti-riot officers.
NO TRUST
The traders further complained that it was becoming difficult to trust agencies as some conduct their incursions without letters of authority and representatives from the Kenya Bureau of Standards (Kebs).
They also said their competitors could be behind the swoops.
Nairobi shops raid
Administration Police officers disperse small scale traders along River Road in Nairobi during raids by officers of the Anti-Counterfeit Agency, April 12, 2019. PHOTO | JEFF ANGOTE | NATION MEDIA GROUP
ISTA chair Nelson Iruku said, “It is these authorities that have the mandate to ensure the said goods do not get in the country. How do you explain the [existence of the] goods way past their entry points and in shelves within the city centre?” said .
Mr Iruku said they were of the view that government agencies were failing in developing small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs).
INVESTIGATION
Mr Bulle said they would carry out investigations.
“We confiscated goods from one of the shops while the other did not have them. We are going to investigate them," he said.
He added, "The swoop was sanctioned by top authorities at the ACA."
Ben Mutahi, chairman of the Nairobi Importers and Small Traders Association, asked the agencies to conduct comprehensive civic education and training on counterfeit goods, as this is the only way to counter the trade.
“Small scale traders should be educated on the counterfeit goods trade and how it harms them as well as the economy, so they are compelled to shun it,” Mr Mutahi said.

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