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Matiang’i orders Busia customs officials moved in war on counterfeits

Customs officials who have overstayed at the Busia border crossing point will be moved in a month’s time, Interior CS Fred Matiang’i has said.

He said the move is part of government’s efforts to deal with the proliferation of counterfeit goods into the country from Uganda.

“Actually, I have been discussing the issue here already. I have heard about it and I promise you as we will look into that issue, you will see a difference by the end of this month,” Matiang’i said.

He spoke on Wednesday when he visited the Busia One-Stop Border Point to assess operations.

The government has declared war on counterfeit products which it said costs the country billions of shillings in revenue annually.

During his State of the Nation address on May 7, President Uhuru Kenyatta told parliament that tax evasion, counterfeiting and unlicensed products like alcoholic and illicit brews were denying the economy over Sh30 billion in annual revenue.

He further said counterfeits affect employment, leads to loss of jobs and lowers foreign direct investment.

Read: Illicit liquor floods Thika, licensed firms say their ventures hurting

On May 10, the president directed Deputy Chief of Staff Wanyama Musiambo to head a task force for the crack down on counterfeit goods and personally brief him periodically on the progress.

Alcohol, cosmetics, automotive parts and pharmaceutical products are the most counterfeited products in Kenya.

Matiang’i said the Interior ministry will intensify engagements with field staff on how best to counter importation of contraband goods.

“As government, we are now determined to deal with white colour crime in the country. Whether it is corruption, trade in illicit goods, efforts that people are making to evade tax, contraband goods, we are going to fight these very hard.”

The CS warned those involved in the importation of the goods that the government will act without mercy.

“Sugar doesn’t arrive in Eastleigh from the sky and contraband goods don’t arrive in Nairobi from the sky. They have come through some of our border points. We have asked our people working at the border points to take responsibility.”

Matiang’i said they have had three operations over the past week targeting counterfeit godowns in Eldoret, Nairobi “and in another part of the country that I do not want to name because we want to move on certain contraband goods.”

Matiang’i said the problem in Eldoret involves the adulteration of fuel which he said was hurting Kenya’s trade regional partners.

“We are very serious about this matter and we are going to ensure that those who are involved are brought to book,” Matiang’i said.

Read: Fake goods destroyed as suspects are held

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