By Robert Tapfumaneyi
MOST mobile phones and accessories such as chargers and batteries found being sold in the country are either counterfeit or substandard products.
This is according to a report by Auditor General Mildred Chiri following her visits to various shops in Harare, Bulawayo, Victoria Falls and Beitbridge.
Some of the phone accessories only last for two days and these are mainly found at the popular Gulf complex in Harare, according to the report.
The mobile phones and accessories were substandard or counterfeit because they were labelled in a foreign language and did not have proper labelling that indicated conformity to required standards such as CE.
“Audit inspected 32 shops in Harare, 15 shops in Bulawayo, 4 shops in Victoria Falls and 5 flea markets in Beitbridge which were selling sub-standard mobile phones and accessories,” Chiri said.
“I also inspected for quality certification labelling on the mobile phone chargers and noted that some had no certification labelling.
“The selling of counterfeit mobile phones and accessories was due to smuggling and non-detection at border posts.
“The reason for non-detection according to ZIMRA officials, was because importers were using split consignment techniques.”
Split consignment techniques involve instances in which traders import products at market value below $1 000 using different people to avoid costs associated with obtaining a Consignment Based Conformity Assessment (CBCA) certification.
“According to some shop attendants in the areas visited, some mobile phones and accessories were said to have two days or seven days’ guarantee,” she said.
“However, we noted that receipts issued to customers did not give written guarantees especially at Gulf complex in Harare.
“The shop attendants further explained that they could not give lengthy guarantee period because the products were not certified with international standards symbol as CE.
“Therefore, the product could be of poor quality or counterfeit.”
Chiri also reported that inspection of alcoholic beverages on the markets in the same cities revealed that there were some whiskeys on the shelves that did not meet the required standards.
“A supermarket inspected in Victoria Falls on July 18, 2018 had imported whiskeys with a 43% to 59% alcohol content on the shelves which was above the recommended 40% alcohol content for whiskey according to SI 132 of 2015,” she said.