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Authorities seize millions of fake masks in Nairobi

Authorities from the Anti – Counterfeit Agency (ANC) on Thursday raided a leading city hospital that was said to have imported more than 20,000 counterfeit N95 masks, making one of the biggest single seizures of personal protective equipment since the pandemic began.

ANC said that the masks which bared the M3 Co.N95 logo with a value of Sh21 million had been supplied by a company named John Gray Ltd.

“The raid followed a tip-off by hospital officials about a suspicious supply by a company named John Gray Ltd. The consignment was delivered to the hospital earlier this week and failed internal quality and standard tests at the facility,” a statement from ACA read in part.

ACA enforcement manager Lindsay Kipkemoi urged hospitals and medical facilities to report suspected counterfeit supplies to the Authority.

“We are living in unprecedented times of Covid pandemic with thousands of Kenyans dead and affected from Covid-19.”

“It’s not only criminal to sell counterfeit personal protective equipment but morally evil to take advantage of this situation. These products pose health and safety risks to first-line responders and to consumers as they provide a false sense of security to users,” she added.

The counterfeit masks were seized and taken to ACA deport with the agency launching investigations to identify the owner/s of the Company.

Anti-Counterfeit Act 2008, makes it an offense to trade in counterfeit goods. Suspect/s faces up to five years in prison and/or a minimum fine of three times the retail value of original goods.

N95 masks are highly coveted because they are the most protective face covering – the name refers to their minimum 95 percent efficiency at filtering aerosols.

The masks seal tightly around the nose and mouth so that few viral particles can seep in or out, and they contain tangled fibers to catch airborne pathogens. That’s why they’re generally reserved for healthcare workers.