The Communications Authority of Kenya (CA) has managed to seize more than 5000 fake mobile phones in Mombasa County. Apparently, the ICT watchdog has conducted the exercise in the coastal region, with focus on retailers who sell counterfeit handhelds to unsuspecting public.
According to the Business Daily, CA’s coast regional manager Mr. Joseph Kimuge revealed that the crackdown has been going on for the better part of the month among vendors selling phones in Mombasa’s CBD. At the same time, the regulator’s coastal head said that more than 20 retailers have been arraigned in court for (un)knowingly engaging in the vice.
“Some have been convicted and others are still in court. We are planning to dispose the phones. We do not want the market to be infiltrated with fake telecommunication gadgets,” said Mr. Kimuge.
CA has been on a mission to eliminate the distribution and use of counterfeit phones. The campaign was launched in 2012, and at that time, more than 2.5 million fake mobile phones were operational. Operators were tasked to block them where Airtel Kenya and Safaricom switched off most of them (740,000 and 680,000 respectively).
The body in charge of regulating the ICT industry in the country is continually warning people against purchasing fake phones and advises them to visit authorized dealers. Buyers should request receipts and warranty information after purchase.
“How can you buy a smart phone at Sh1,000? Isn’t that fake? How do you buy a gadget without being issued with a receipt and warranty? It must also have an established repair centre. Through our website, we have published all telecommunication equipment which are supposed to be sold in Kenya,” he added.
It should be noted that CA is putting these efforts in place to root out dubious and unauthorized dealers AKA the black market that sneaks in mobile devices into the country.
While we appreciate the body’s campaign, it is obvious that the exercise is irregular, which makes us wonder if its regulations are being enforced by involved parties such as operators.