WINDHOEK – A two-day Interpol operation that combed through Namibia, Botswana, South Africa, Malawi and Zambia seized counterfeit products in excess of N$12 million. The seized goods comprised of pirated toys, cigarettes, electrical chargers, shavers, CDs, DVD players, sports wear, as well as laptops with pirated Microsoft software. In Namibia alone, Interpol seized 4 860 cartons of fake ‘Yes’ cigarettes.
Interpol had codenamed the sting ‘Operation Kalahari’ and it took place on September 12 and 13, with the involvement of the country’s police, customs and prosecutors. Interpol said the operation succeeded in targeting many locations including well-established shops where both fake and genuine products were sold side by side.
“[The operation] shows that any product can and will be counterfeited by criminals and sold to an unsuspecting public,” Francoise Dorcier, the Criminal Intelligence Officer with Interpol’s Trafficking in Illicit Goods and Counterfeiting Programme, which coordinated the operation, said in a statement.
Dorcier said the operation also “demonstrated that coordination between police and all involved partners, including customs, prosecutors and the private sector is essential in effectively tackling this type of crime. The operation also revealed the efforts made by criminals to avoid detection and deceive consumers, including the recovery of fake certification stickers for use on unidentified electrical chargers which were being sold as genuine products, and using seals to cover counterfeit branding.”
Participants in the raid underwent training from September 09 to 11 in Gaborone conducted by Interpol in partnership with the US Patent and Trademark Office, where law enforcement officials from five Southern African countries were updated on successful investigation techniques.
By Roland Routh