Recent news articles based on the Editor General’s report are showing that the anti-counterfeits agency’s ability to combat flow of illicit goods will remain hampered due to staff shortages.
Auditor-General Edward Ouko says the Anti-Counterfeit Agency had 73 workers against the required staff size of 250, resulting in a shortfall of 177.
“Further, the agency’s core function of enforcement is severely understaffed as it had 35 staff members in position against the recommended establishment of 141 during the year under review,” Mr Ouko says in an audit of the agency’s books of accounts for the year to June 2017.
He said the management explained that they expect to recruit 27 inspectors in the 2018/19 year after receiving approval from the Head of Public Service and the National Treasury.
Kenya Private Sector Alliance, an umbrella body for local companies, says illicit goods account for about 40 per cent of all traded goods in the country.
Some of those are imports supposedly intended for transit to a neighbouring country, then diverted to the local market with no import fees paid.
The Anti-Counterfeit Agency is established under the Anti-Counterfeit Act 2008 as a State Corporation with the mandates to enlighten and inform the public on matters relating to counterfeiting, combat counterfeiting, trade and other dealings in counterfeit goods, devise and promote training programs to combat counterfeiting and co-ordinate with national, regional or international organizations involved in combating counterfeiting.
It is a state corporation currently within the Ministry of Industry, Investment and Trade. Although the Act was passed by Kenya’s Parliament in 2008, it came into force on 1st July 2009 with the principal aim of prohibiting trade in counterfeit goods. The Agency came into operation in June 2010.
Its mandate includes to combat counterfeiting, trade and other dealings in counterfeit goods and to co-ordinate with national, regional or international organizations involved in combating counterfeiting. It is the enforcement arm of infringement of industrial property rights duly registered under the industrial property institute KIPI.
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