An investigation by Interpol and Directorate of International Relations has confirmed that most products on Kampala markets are counterfeit.
The revelation came after a week of operations by Interpol officials, several brand owners and Uganda National Bureau of Standards in Kampala metropolitan area.
Interpol deputy director Elly Womanya said their spot checks showed that genuine products in the city hardly exist.
“The operation sought to identify the magnitude of the problem. We realised that it was too big and we couldn’t cover all brands. Our investigations discovered most cosmetics, electronics, seeds and alcohol products to be either to have been counterfeited or fake,” Mr Womanya said.
Interpol arrested 14 people on Gayaza Road, Container Village, Luwum and Ben Kiwanuka streets on a range of offences, including being in possession of counterfeits.
The suspects claimed they bought the products from distributors authorised by brand owners, thinking they were genuine. Interpol is also investigating the suspects’ allegations.
Mr Womanya said they recovered 70 bottles of Black Label, a whisky brand, that were being pirated in a home factory in Kasangati, Wakiso District.
Fifty boxes of fake pesticides, 50 bags of fake seeds, 55 rolls of electric cables and 50 kgs of cosmetics worth Shs150m were impounded.
The long term impact
Counterfeits affect the economy since they aren’t durable and sometimes have health hazards. Interpol is now proposing a creation of a taskforce to deal with counterfeiting of products. Farmers have been complaining of seeds that don’t germinate when planted, and pesticides that don’t eliminate vermin.