16 January 2013

Rwanda: Counterfeit Alcohol Floods Market

Counterfeit alcohol has flooded the market in Gitega, Kigali and is threatening the genuine brands and people's lives. Residents and local authorities said the fake brews are made locally, but bear brand names of imported genuine brands.

They identified the common counterfeit brands as FURAHA, Chief, Senate, Bond 7 and Coffee. There are genuine brands imported from Uganda, but their containers are recycled by counterfeiters to dupe the people. The residents accused yet-to-be identified unscrupulous business men to be behind the illegal trade.

Idrissa Nkurunziza, the executive secretary of Gitega sector, said they were aware some traders were dealing in sub-standard brews, but had not yet made any arrests.

"We are working on it. In case we find any bars selling counterfeited alcohol, the owners will be arrested and charged in courts of law for endangering people's lives and profiteering from illegal products," he said.

The director of quality assurance at the Rwanda Bureau of Standards, Phillip Nzaire, said they test all products entering the country, adding that in case they discover sub-standard or illegal ones, they confiscate them.

"We did not know there are counterfeit brews in the country. However, we will work with the Police and residents to solve the problem," he said, adding: "It is easy to change containers of imported alcohol brands."

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