Counterfeit alcohol has flooded the market in Gitega, Kigali, threatening other genuine brands and people’s lives, Rwanda’s News Times has reported.
This, if it is not tackled sooner, could negatively impact the earnings of established brewers operating in the central African country.
Residents and local authorities said the fake brews were 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 as being 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.
Gitega Sector is made up of what used to be Gitega and Cyahafi Sectors. It consists of six Cells: Akabahizi, Kora, Akabeza, Kigarama, Kinyange and Gacyamo.
This Sector has a common border with the Sectors of Rwezamenyo, Kimisagara, Muhima and Nyarugenge. It has a population of more than 40.000.
“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.”