Speaking at the destruction event held over the weekend at Kisenga village in Kisarawe district, FCC director general Dr John Mduma said disposal of counterfeits is one of measures stipulate in the Merchandised Marks Act.
“This is just the beginning of our ten day disposal campaign of counterfeits and substandard we nabbed across the country during this financial year. It goes up to May 27th. All sorts of illegal businesses including counterfeits and substandard threatens competitiveness, innovation, best practice and deny value for money of the local market,” said Dr. Mduma.
According to him, among disposed counterfeits included handbags and wallets worth 235.56million/-, toothbrush cartons worth 226.80million/- ink for photocopy machine 62.55million/- and detergent soaps worth 21.31million/-. Other counterfeits and sub standards were fishing nets, body lotion, helmets, pistons, and mosquito nets.
He urged manufacturers have to walk hand in hand with the government in protecting their brands against counterfeiters by conducting routine surveys of the products on the market and reporting to the authorities.
“Any business or trade associated to counterfeits is being stipulated as part of the Anti-money laundering Act, known as predicate offences that helps in easing the practice of money laundering crimes. However, the Merchandized Marks Act 1963 poses an imprisonment punishment to counterfeiters of between 5 and 14 years,” he warned.
According to FCC figures, in the period covering 2013 to December 2018 the commission carried out routine surveillance at the ports and inland container depots where 160 raids were conducted countrywide and led to the seizure of 1,131 containers loaded with assorted counterfeit goods.
During the period, the commission disposed condemned counterfeit goods worth 15.6bn/-. Awareness campaigns on counterfeit issues were made to local business people to enable them appreciate the consequence of infringing one’s trademark and importance of registering and protecting local brands.
Dr Mduma pointed that one of the challenges in combating proliferation of counterfeits in local market is a few deficiencies present in the current Merchandise Marks Act 1963 that needs urgent amendments with strong regulations to fully protect consumer’s welfare.
“The FCC plans to lobby parliament review the Merchandise Marks Act of 1963 and its regulations by 2021. The commission also wants to see amendment of its own Fair Competitions Act of 2003 to accommodate new dynamics in proliferation of counterfeits and penalty imposed on culprits,” said Dr Mduma.