Grey handset vendors must be arrested, says CCK

Phones lacking International Mobile Equipment Identity, IMEI, will be switched off while those selling the phones in Kenya will be arrested and prosecuted, says The Communications Commissions of Kenya (CCK) and The Anti-Counterfeit Agency (ACA).

This comes after the body’s directive to switch off all counterfeit mobile phones by September 30.

According to the CCK Director-General Eng Francis Wangusi (Ag,) manufacturers of mobile phones must get the clearance of the body on quality and standards.

The switch off, according to Wangusi, will ensure consumers in Kenya are protected against social, health and safety issues related to counterfeit phone use.

He added that CCK is committed to ending the presence of criminals in the mobile phone market as well as ensuring mobile phones sold in the market are genuine.

Wangusi also added that the counterfeit mobile phones increase criminal activities as they are untraceable and affect the performance of mobile networks. The phones also expose consumers to injurious levels of radiation that can cause cancer.

Supporting this move, the ACA Deputy Director Dr John Akoten added that those found in possession of counterfeit phones will either serve a five year jail term or pay a fine three times the fake mobile phone or face both.

Dr Akoten told the Standard: “Any subsequent arrest would mean the fine increases to not less than seven times the products values and up to a 15 year jail term.”

The regulation commission is asking consumers to Dial *#06# to check the authenticity of their phone’s IMEI. Consumers then send the 15 number IMEI as an SMS to 155 on all mobile networks.

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