By Bukola Kayode
The Importers Association of Nigeria, IMAN, Special Taskforce has sealed off Aokete Lighting Electronics Industries Limited over alleged forgery and counterfeiting certificate of trademark.
It was also alleged that the said company located at Kirikiri Industrial estate, Apapa Lagos has been engaged in trade malpractices, importation and distribution of substandard AKT bulbs from China into the country.
The Acting Director-General of IMAN, Special Taskforce, Ambassador Chijioke Okoro disclosed this while briefing newsmen in Abuja.
He said the Chinese company was brazenly doing its businesses in the country even without registration with IMAN.
Further, Okoro explained that the company over the years has been devising panoply of tricks to circumvent the extant law regulating operations of businesses in Nigeria allegedly with the sole purpose of widening its surplus value at the detriment of the nation and final consumers.
When grilled, the IMAN DG said, “IMAN got a report that Aokete is using a fake trademark in doing business and, their goods are substandard.
“You know the Importers Association of Nigeria, IMAN, is an association duly incorporated in the country.
“It has the mandate, support and co-operation of the federal government of Nigeria to combat the illegal importation of contra-bound, adulterated and substandard goods into the country.
“What Aokete has been doing is illegal. Its activities amount to economic sabotage that flout the policy and programmes of the federal government.
“However, police operatives from the Inspector-General of Police, IGP, Monitoring Team have also arrested some members of staff of the company. They are currently under investigation at Area E, Police Command, Festac, Lagos”.
Discrete investigations, according to IMAN DG, revealed that Niger Shine Industries Limited located at Alaba-Ojo also in Lagos owns and registered D&B AKT Energy bulb, the original trademark with RTM no. 99900 and certificate no. 004154 with which Aokete company allegedly counterfeited.
He also explained that findings by the police during investigation in 2016 from the Federal Ministry of trade and Investment stated, “That Ministry of Trade and Investment, the issuing authority for trademarks replied that the following certificate Nos. 99717 and 99718 being used by Aokete Lighting, owned by the Chinese did not emanate from them.
“That the Ministry of Trade and Investment disclosed that the suspect (Aokete Lighting Electronics Industries Ltd) merely approached the ministry for issuance of certificate of registration in respect of the AKT trademark”.
“That suspects claimed that one Chigbo (surname unknown) a lawyer, registered the trademark for their company since 2008 but admitted that they got to know that their trademark certificate was forged only in 2015.
“That though suspects claimed to have just discovered this last year, they have continued to market their goods in Nigeria using the forged registered trademark “