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Three charged with selling fake Sh11 million face masks

A medical doctor and two entrepreneurs have been charged with selling 20,000 counterfeit face masks to Aga Khan Hospital worth Sh11million.

The accused who are being defended by lawyers Kibiru Njenga and Gachie Mwanza were charged with selling the facemasks branded “3M” without the authority of 3M Company, the registered owner of “3M Trade Mark No.42326”.

Milimani law courts senior principal magistrate Ms. Esther Kimilu heard that the counterfeit goods imitated the genuine ones which are clustered under Class 10.

The accused, Dr Kimani Muthami, a private medical practitioner, together with Mr William Muthee and Ms Sylvia Wambui denied seven counts of conspiring to sell counterfeit goods, aiding the sell of counterfeit goods, importing counterfeit goods, controlling and selling of the said counterfeit facemasks.

Dr Muthami, director of Johngray Communications Limited was charged alongside Mr Muthee a director of Davetronics Company Limited, Ms Wambui, and Liliam Awuor of Real-Time Company.

Ms Awuor did not attend court on Thursday as she was said to be indisposed.

Medical records were presented to the court.

The medic and the traders were charged that between December 30 2020 and January 18 2021 conspired to sell counterfeit goods to wit 20,000 pieces of “3M” branded masks valued at Ksh11M without the authority of 3M Company the registered owner of 3M trademark.

In the count of aiding the sale of counterfeit goods, they are all alleged to have sold the said masks while imitating the protected goods in such manner and to such degree that those counterfeit goods are substantially similar copies of the protected goods.

Real-Time is charged with selling and importing counterfeit facemasks.

Johngray Communications Limited of Dr Muthami and the other co-accused were accused of controlling the goods in the course of trade.

Mr Njenga and Mr Mwanza applied for the release of the suspects on bond on reasonable terms saying they are not flight risks and will turn up to face justice during the trial.

But lawyer Toyo for Aga Khan hospital opposed the bail plea claiming the suspects failed to appear in court on several occasions to plead to the charges.

The prosecutor did not oppose bond.

In her ruling, Ms Kimilu said: “After considering the submissions by defence lawyers Njenga and Mwanza and considering that the prosecution is not opposed to the release of the accused on bond I hereby direct the accused to deposit in court a bond of Ksh 700,000 or alternative cash bail of Ksh300,000.”

Ms Kimilu fixed the case to be mentioned on February 7, 2022 for pre-trial directions.