Anti-Counterfeit Agency Cleaning House, Dragged to Labour Court

Anti-Counterfeit Agency Boss Dr. John Akoten Inspector General of Police Joseph Boinett

Readers of this blog will recall a previous report here that the Anti-Counterfeit Agency (ACA) reinvigorated under the chairmanship of Polycarp Igathe took the unprecedented step of sending four of its senior officers on compulsory leave following numerous complaints from manufacturers, specifically, owners of intellectual property (IP) rights, against the officers who are allegedly engaged in misconduct and defeating the very purpose for which they were engaged in combating counterfeiting. The ACA officers sent on compulsory leave included; Deputy Director for Enforcement, Prosecution and Legal Services Mr. Johnson Adera, Assistant Director for Enforcement Mr. Abdikadir Mohamed, Anti-Counterfeit Inspector II Mr. Weldon Kiprotich Sigei and Anti-Counterfeit Inspector I, Mr. Sammy Arekai Sarich.

In the case of Adera, many readers will further recall that he is already on the radar of the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC). EACC’s second quarterly report of 2015 published on August 20th 2015 reads as follows:

“INQUIRY NO.10/2013

Inquiry into allegations of corruption against officers of the Anti-Counterfeit Agency in the manner in which Exhibits were disposed of in respect of a Criminal Case before the Principal Magistrate’s Court, Winam, Kisumu.

Investigations established that the Anti-Counterfeit Agency preferred charges of counterfeit against a hardware dealer in Kisumu. The said case was however withdrawn after the complainant in the case reached an out of court settlement with the persons charged. Whereas the Court did not make an order that the goods in question be released to the owner of the hardware, the Deputy Director Enforcement, Prosecution and Legal Services, at the Anti-Counterfeit Agency released the goods. He failed to observe the provisions of section 27 and 28 of Anti-Counterfeit Act, 2008 in disposing off exhibits in question.

A report was compiled and forwarded to Director of Public Prosecutions on 23rd April, 2015 with recommendation that the Deputy Director Enforcement, Prosecution and Legal Services be charged with the offence of abuse of office contrary to section 46 as read with section 48(1) of the Anti-Corruption and Economic Crimes Act, 2003.

On 18th June, 2015, the DPP advised that further investigations be carried out.

This blogger has now learned that Adera along with the other disgraced ACA officers have sued ACA along with its Chairman of the Board of Directors, Acting Executive Director and Acting Deputy Director Finance and Administration before the Employment and Labour Relations Court in the case of Johnson Otieno Adera & 3 others v Anti-Counterfeit Agency & 3 others [2015] eKLR.

Adera and company have petitioned the court for orders that ACA and its top brass violated their rights under the Constitution and have demanded that they be reinstated at ACA immediately. In its ruling, the court ordered that ACA provide to the petitioners information under Article 35 of the Constitution of Kenya of the various complaints made against them by the general public and the manufacturers/IP owners as including correspondences and mail.

The court also found that the ACA board was not properly constituted therefore the compulsory leave letters issued pursuant to its meeting must be declared null and void. However the court clarified that its ruling does not in any way impede ACA from carrying out its investigations and subjecting Adera and the other petitioners to proper disciplinary procedures.

A copy of the ruling in this Petition No. 55 of 2015 is available here.

 

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