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KAMPALA, Uganda

Police have arrested three people for smuggling wine from Eritrea to Uganda. The arrests came after police officers impounded several wine bottles bearing an Eritrea trademark from several bars in Kampala.

Kampala Metropolitan Police Spokesperson Patrick Onyango on Tuesday said the wines were discovered in an operation in Kabalagala, Makindye Division.

“We received a complaint that some people are selling wines that are not supposed to be sold on Ugandan market. The complainant led us to several bars with in Kabalagala in Makindye Division and we impounded a number of bottles of the said wine,” Mr Onyango told journalists in Kampala.

He added that they carried out the operation following a complaint of trademark infringement.

Mr Onyango said: “We have to go to the Uganda Registration Services Bureau (URSB) to verify the person with permission as trademark dealers. We are going to submit our request.”

On October 4, the Managing Director of Zala Universal Investments Limited, Petros Fitwl, who claims to be the sole importer and distributor of the wines produced by Asmara Breweries in Eritrea, petitioned the Uganda National Bureau of Standards (UNBS) after finding wine with similar trademark logos as his in Uganda.

“Through our surveillance, we found on market Asmara products that we did not import. This has an effect on the revenue to government in terms of taxes and it is also affecting our market,” he said.

He asked UNBS to investigate the suspected illegal wines to confirm if it is fit for human consumption and if it complies with the standards for product of this category.

“The reason we are request for this test is because as the authorized sole distributor of this product, should there be any complaint from the consumer of the product who consumed it, it would be assumed the product came from us,” he wrote.

“Also as sole distributor, we do not expect any other supplier to sell this product in the Ugandan market if it is not purchased from us. Therefore it could be a counterfeit and pose a health risk to consumers,” he added.

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