Sh40 million fake cigarettes destroyed in Mombasa
The consignment of counterfeit cigarettes impounded by Kenya Revenue Authority officials at the Mombasa port two years ago has been destroyed. The 728 cartons of cigarettes were burnt at the Bamburi Cement Plant Kiln yesterday. The cigarettes were smuggled into the country from China packed in Sportsman packages, a product of the British American Tobacco.
KRA estimates the cigarettes value at Sh40 million with a duty value of Sh32 million. The importer had declared the goods as cotton bags. KRA Southern region senior assistant, marketing and communication officer Fatma Yusuf told journalists the cigarettes had a fake revenue stamp. She said the importers intended to dump the cigarettes in the local market.
“Our officers suspected the goods which prompted them to inspect the content. We only found cotton bags worth Sh900,000, the rest were contraband goods,” she said. The goods were imported in June 2010. “The importer hacked into someone else system and used a pass word which did not belong to them. KRA verified and found the declaration did not conform to the goods declared. We had to scan the container,” said Fatma.
She said the authority is determined to work with stakeholders to stop contrabands from penetrating the Kenyan market. “Contrabands destroy our industry. They are a health hazard and cost the country revenue. We shall not allow such goods into our market,” said Fatma. She said the authority has a strong investigating team and scanners at the port.
“Any suspected good is subjected to scanning and verification. We are very keen at the port on all goods entering the country,” she said. This comes as the Anti-Counterfeit Agency which became operational in June 2010 lay down strategies to curb counterfeits in Mombasa.
An anti-counterfeit officer who spoke to the Star on anonymity said the agency is working on cracking down counterfeits entering the country. He called on Kenyans to be keen on the products they buy.