Police Seize N$14 Million Fake Goods

COUNTERFEIT goods worth N$14,5 million were confiscated by Windhoek police recently during a three-day operation code named ‘Wipe Out’, which targeted certain shops and individuals.

Police spokesperson deputy Commissioner Edwin Kanguatjivi said 41 376 imitation items of different well-known brands like Nike, Puma, Adidas, Leviss and Samsung were seized, while 20 detention notices were issued to suspects.

Officials from the Interpol bureau, Ministries of Finance, Home Affairs and representatives of the Namibian Society of Composers and Authors of Music (Nascam) and the private sector participated in the operation.

Kanguatjivi said among the seized fake goods were 7 046 Nike items worth more than N$2,46 million, 7 641 Adidas items worth N$2,67 million, 7 647 Puma items worth N$2,68 million, 2 382 Levisitems worth N$833,700 and 2 449 Samsung items worth N$857,150.

“The operation was carried out in the Khomas Region, which is the main economic hub of Namibia,” said Kanguatjivi. “These goods are in police custody while modalities for appropriate methods of disposal are worked out. In addition, a total of N$120 000 was seized during the operation.”

Kanguatjivi also said the operation was a follow-up to a meeting organised by Interpol’s Trafficking in Illicit Goods and Counterfeiting sub-directorate held in Kigali, Rwanda from 25-27 March 2014.

The meeting was attended by representatives from southern and eastern African countries, who resolved that participating countries such as Botswana, Kenya, Namibia, Rwanda, Zambia, Tanzania and Uganda should conduct an operation code named ‘Wipe Out’ between 21 and 26 April 2014.

Kanguatjivi said Namibia only carried out its operation from 28-30 April 2014 because of the Easter holiday.

“The objective of the operation was to identify, disrupt and dismantle transitional organised networks involved in trafficking illicit goods in eastern and southern Africa. It was also aimed at preventing, investigating and seizing all excisable goods,” he said.

Kanguantjivi further said the strategic methods agreed upon during the operational planning were to maximise cooperation between the public and private sector, brand owners or representatives, Nascam and law enforcement agents, gather information, evaluate and process it into valuable and useful intelligence.

The aim was also to have a maximum deployment of available resources and use custom and excise search, seize, identify places as well as deliver notices on suspects from whom goods were seized.

Kanguatjivi said illicit items such as alcohol and cigarettes are health hazard items since they contain harmful substances.

“Due to smuggling of counterfeit items, governments are losing billions in revenue. The seizure of such large volumes of counterfeit goods in Windhoek alone indicates a rapidly growing market for more counterfeit goods to innocent, vulnerable and economically disaantaged members of the public,” he stated.

Kanguatjivi said that during the operation, legal challenges on the law enforcement agencies were experienced due to a legal mandate to access the suspected targets without search warrants as most of the targeted places were closed on the start of the operation.

“However, provisions in the Police Act, Custom and Excise Act as well as Criminal Procedure Act 51 of 1977, section 22, made it possible for the operation to attain tangible results,” he said.

Source : The Namibian