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Fake smartphones worth Sh100m seized in downtown

Counterfeit mobile phones and accessories worth more than Sh100 million have been confiscated in Nairobi.

The Anti-Counterfeit Agency led Operation Fagia Opson, mainly targeting the popular Samsung touchscreen phones.

People have been buying fake phones from traders in Nairobi, who are said to be importing them from Southeast Asia.

The International Criminal Police Organisation (Interpol), has joined the state-owned agency in the crackdown against fake phones. Interpol is an inter-governmental organisation that facilitates international police cooperation.

FORGERY

 

Agents from Samsung Electronics Company Ltd’s Anti-Illicit Enforcement agency are also part of the operation. The agency protects the firm’s brands against forgery.

Together with police, the three have been raiding different electronic shops in Nairobi and impounding counterfeit mobile phones. So far, seven traders have been arrested.

“In the past three months, we have netted mobile phones worth more than Sh100 million,” Mr Tom Muteti, the Anti-Counterfeit Agency chief public relations officer said on Sunday.

Last week, the teams ransacked seven shops on Nairobi’s Luthuli Avenue.

They netted boxes of counterfeit Samsung touchscreen phones with packages bearing different trademarks.

CONCEAL BRAND

According to the director of Anti-Illicit Enforcement, Mr Peter Mutula, traders conceal the Samsung brand to avoid higher taxes.

“They also infringe on the Samsung trademark. This deceit leads to major financial losses for the genuine manufacturers. As a result, there are job losses,” he told journalists at the scene of the raids last Friday .

Samsung raised the red flag when it found out that several fake brands were being imported. Consumers have been rushing to buy the counterfeit phones because they are being sold cheaply.

“We look forward to the elimination of the fake phones to ensure that people receive genuine Samsung products,” said Mr Mutula.

In a similar operation last year, a total of 122 counterfeit phones were impounded and 63 people arrested.