Nairobi. The war on counterfeits across East Africa received a vital boost on Friday when Kenyan authorities arrested a woman at the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (JKIA) suspected to be a peddler of fake excise revenue stamps.
Jane Mary Muthoni Gichengo, who was detained upon arrival from China, is suspected to be part of a criminal network that manufactures excise stamps in China and consigns them to Kenya while concealed, according to reports in Kenya’s Nairobi News.
Fake stamps pose an uneven competition to genuine manufacturers who pay relevant taxes.
The arrest of comes at a time when revenue bodies across East Africa are waging a war against fake stamps, with Kenya and Tanzania effectively rolling out electronic tax stamps.
According to Nairobi News, officers from the Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA) on Friday arrested as soon as she arrived.
“KRA confirms the arrest of a suspected peddler of fake excise revenue stamps at JKIA upon her arrival from China. Jane Mary Muthoni Gichengo, is suspected to be part of a criminal network that manufactures excise stamps in China and consigns them to Kenya under concealment,” KRA said through Facebook.
The Authority added that the stamps are then distributed through a local cartel to alcohol manufacturers and distributors facilitating nonpayment of taxes to the government.
Gichengo is in police custody waiting to be arraigned.
The arrest is part of the fight initiated by KRA against illicit products in the local market to ensure revenue loopholes are sealed.
Last month, KRA destroyed illicit products with a market value of more than Ksh1.5 billion, which were seized from traders in Nairobi and its environs and were being sold in violation of regulations stipulated under the Excise Duty Act.
“The products destroyed include 25,070 bottles of beer, 102,004 bottles of wine, spirits packed in 82,538 bottles and 104,786 bottles of juice,” KRA said in a statement.
It further added that the goods could have led to a loss of over Ksh400 million in tax revenue.
“Also destroyed was an assortment of machinery used in the production of some goods, 93, 670 bottles of water, 60, 000 fake excise stamps and 6, 450 packets of cigarettes, cigars, cigarillos, and shisha packed in 50 packets,” said KRA.