City businesswoman Maria Prossy Namwanje has been fined sh30m by the Standards Utility Court after she pleaded guilty to five counts of dealing in counterfeit products.
Namwanje popularly known as Aunt Lususu on Friday pleaded guilty to the charges before Buganda Road Court Grade One Magistrate Marion Mangeni.
Uganda National Bureau of Standards (UNBS) senior legal officer, Caroline Agonzibwa informed the court that they had since entered into a plea-bargaining with Namwanje for a non-custodial sentence.
“Your Worship, we have entered into a plea-bargaining with the convict. I have consulted the UNBS director and he did not object to the proposal of sh30m fine. I invite the court to accept it,” Agonzibwa submitted.
Agonzibwa revealed to court that Namwanje has been selling products that contain hydroquinone in addition to illegal use of UNBS quality mark.
Hydroquinone is a depigmenting agent used to lighten areas of darkened skin such as freckles, age spots, chloasma, and melisma caused by pregnancy, birth control pills, hormone medicine, or injury to the skin. Hydroquinone also inhibits melanin production, which gives colour to skin.
Prosecution further says that the 37 –year old Namwanje on September 14, 2017 at Aunt Lususu Shop no.404A Nakasero Complex in Kampala District applied UNBS quality mark on her cosmetic products for sale without permission from UNBS.
Prosecution further said that on February 2, 2018, at Buganda Road on plot 2127, Namwanje sold several brands of the Sure Deal Cosmetics products worth over 1595.8 kilograms bearing the UNBS quality mark without permission.
Namwanje has also been battling charges of possession of commodities that are not approved for human usage contrary to sections of the UNBS Act.
According to the UNBS Act, no person is allowed to import, distribute, sell or have in his or her possession or control for sale or distribute any commodity for which a compulsory standard specification has been declared.
Cosmetics are some of the products covered under compulsory standards. According to UNBS, a number of creams and soaps that are used in skin lightening contain hydroquinone which chemical is dangerous for human usage.
Between 2017 and 2018, UNBS market surveillance team carried out various inspections at the Sure Deal outlets.
The team discovered that various cosmetics manufactured by the company had the UNBS quality mark despite having not been certified.
It confiscated skin lightening cosmetics that contain hydroquinone, which various studies have confirmed to have adverse effects on human health such as damage to internal organs like the liver and causing skin cancer.Source;Newvision