Govt Seizes Goods Worth Ksh50 Million at China Square
The controversy surrounding China Square continued to unravel after officials drawn from the Anti-Counterfeit Authority (ACA) seized goods worth Ksh50 million from the premises to investigate infringement claims on intellectual property.
Reports indicated that a Kenyan-based company claimed ownership of trademark finder – a brand name under which finder branded goods were sold at China Square.
According to the local company, they are the owner of the domain name Finder and the sole distributor of Finder products in the country.
China Square proprietor, Lei Cheng poses for a photo inside his office on February 25, 2023.
Ibrahim Bule, ACA regional manager, affirmed that they carried out an extensive audit to ascertain if China Square had infringed on the trademark claims.
“We conducted a search in the place and investigations are still ongoing. They are quite merchandised products of different brands. We will be able to give a statement after we conclude our investigations,” Bule stated.
On their part, China Square’s legal team claimed they are working with the government and the Kenyan company to resolve the standoff.
“You’ve seen the officers from ACA have come to the premises to check on the goods. They have done the inspection and currently, investigations are ongoing,” Josephine Oyombe, China Square’s advocate stated.
In a statement dated Sunday, February 26, China Square management announced an indefinite closure and did not give a timeline on when they would resume operations.
Lei Cheng, the China Square proprietor, however, intimated to the press that the infringement claims were a plot to kick him out of business.
He added that the dispute was a misunderstanding from the manufacturer based in China and was already resolved.
“The issue was resolved by the brand company in China. It was just some misunderstanding. The complainant also submitted a document to anti-counterfeit to withdraw the case,” he stated while expressing concerns that the business would not reopen.
China Square has been at the centre of controversy since its launch on January 29, 2023, after Trade Cabinet Secretary Moses Kuria revealed his intentions of kicking the China Square owner out of business.
“I have given an offer to Prof Wainaina the VC Kenyatta University to buy out the lease for China Square, Unicity Mall and hand it over to the Gikomba, Nyamakima, Muthurwa l and Eastleigh Traders Association,” he stated.
The Trade CS later offered to assist the China Square owner to set up a manufacturing plant in Kenya.
A photo collage showing the front facade of the China Square Mall along Thika Road (left) and a photo of Trade CS Moses Kuria addressing a past conference.