The late Chris Kirubi’s company, Haco Industries has been ordered to refund Sh15 million it was paid by Doshi Iron Mongers to settle the counterfeiting of its Bic brand of pens.
In a judgement delivered by Justice Patrick Otieno, Haco Industries Limited was ordered to refund Mombasa-based tycoon Ashok Doshi the money that he paid 20 years ago in exchange for non-prosecution over the sale of counterfeit products.
According to Justice Otieno, Haco breached the agreement by continuing to pursue claims against Doshi.
“I do enter judgment as prayed in the counter-claim as follows Sh15 million being the sum paid to the plaintiff pursuant to the breached agreement,” he said.
Haco was also ordered to pay Doshi Sh690,800 being the legal fees the latter incurred while defending itself in the criminal cases of 1996 and 2002.
It will also pay Doshi’s costs of the now determined suit which it filed in 2006.
In 2019, Ashok sued BiC and its former local franchise holder, Haco Industries, for Sh20 million for alleged defamation.
Doshi cited loss of business after his firm Doshi Iron Mongers was linked with the importation of counterfeit BiC pens.
Haco and Societe Bic had also lodged a complaint to the Kenya Bureau of Standards (Kebs) that Doshi’s company was selling counterfeit BiC pens in 1996.
Doshi and Atul Shah, the proprietor of troubled retailer Nakumatt Supermarkets, were consequently arrested and charged in court.
Doshi, through his company, had imported 400 cartons of the BiC ballpoint pens from China which he sold to Nakumatt and several other customers in Mombasa and Nairobi.
Doshi, who was testifying before Mombasa Chief Magistrate Evans Makori, said despite being acquitted by a magistrate’s court in Nairobi on July 10, 1997, they were charged again with a similar offence in 2002, after Haco complained to Kebs.
“We were inspected by Kebs on August 23, 2002, after Haco launched a complaint that we had a further consignment of counterfeit Bic biro pens yet these were the same consignment of 1996 that was left in my possession,” Doshi told the court.
While being cross-examined by his lawyer Willies Oluga, Doshi said they agreed to settle the matter with Societe Bic and Haco and paid Sh15 million for the pens and agreed that he would keep the whole consignment.
Haco sold the BiC pens manufacturing and distribution business back to the franchise owner Société Bic on January 1, 2019.