SKF staff together with local police.
Counterfeit products can be found in all markets and Kenya is no exception. A special governmental agency called the Anti-Counterfeiting Agency (ACA) in Kenya is very dedicated to the task. Recently SKF supported ACA officers in a raid action against a non authorised distributor in the city centre of Nairobi.
The increased activity plan for East Africa started some six months ago when SKF invited customers and governmental authorities the seminar ‘how to protect your business-avoid being cheated by counterfeit’. The seminars were held in the four major countries in East Africa namely Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda and Ethiopia. The message brought to the audience was; 1) Counterfeited industrial products exists, 2) counterfeited products can negatively impact operational reliability and if installed in safety critical equipment, counterfeit product can present a safety risk for people and/or the environment, 3) How can you protect your business and minimize the risks?.
The Managing Director of SKF Kenya explains: “In countries like Uganda and Ethiopia for example, premium bearing brands are accepted and requested by industry, but the absolute majority of products are counterfeits. The customers purchase unknowingly, so awareness training is very important”.
On the raid in Kenya, small and medium sized products worth around 2,5 MEUR were seized by the authorities. The retailer had a very small store, max 8 metres square, but had goods stocked up to the ceiling. The raid was covered by national television and you can watch a short clip from the evening news, one ACA officer and SKF staff are being interviewed.
Watch National television coverage of the raid.
The process to contact customers that might have bought counterfeit products from this retailer, warning them that they likely have been supplied with counterfeit has started. SKF local personnel say that “Customers are naturally quite upset, but also grateful when we inform them that they likely have been supplied with counterfeits..”
In Kenya the legal process is quite simple. The retailer will be informed by ACA that if they agree to destruction of the goods and pay a sum equivalent to 20% of the seized goods value for destruction and handling costs, the case is closed. If they do not agree, then there will be court proceedings that could result in conviction with high fines and/or prison sentences.
When the Managing Director of SKF Kenya reflects upon the past six months he says “I am very committed to continue brand protection activities in East Africa. Counterfeit is a large and serious problem for our customers. It’s naïve to believe that one raid will clean the market, however our continued activities will increase the awareness level and more customers will source their need of SKF products from safe suppliers”.
Some of the bearings seized at the raid being counted and documented in the ACA warehouse.