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Botswana raid nabs software pirates

Botswana raid nabs software pirates

Botswana Unified Revenue Services (BURS) and Microsoft have seized counterfeit software on sale in various retails across the country’s capital Gaborone.

Dubbed ‘Operation Kalahari’, the raids netted several CDs and laptops loaded with pirated Microsoft Office 2007, Windows 8, Windows XP, Windows 7 Home and Microsoft Office 2007 Enterprise software.

Most of the raided retail outlets stocked counterfeit CDs of Windows 8 and laptops with unlicensed software, ready for sale to unsuspecting consumers.

“Our teams visited the shops in the company of the CID (Criminal Investigation Department) officers and then introduced ourselves to the unsuspecting store attendants,” said Boykie Keodirile of BURS.

“Operation Kalahari has once again shown that any product can and will be counterfeited by criminals and sold to an unsuspecting public,” said Françoise Dorcier, criminal intelligence officer with the International Criminal Police Organisation (Interpol) ‘trafficking in illicit goods and counterfeiting programme’, which helped coordinate the operation.

“This operation has also demonstrated that coordination between police and all involved partners, including customs, prosecutors and the private sector is essential in effectively tackling this type of crime,” added Dorcier.

Meanwhile Michael Berenju, Microsoft’s anti-piracy lead for East and Southern Africa, said Microsoft’s effort to protect customers against pirated software is far from over.

“We have realised that a lot of consumers have been duped into buying pirated software by unscrupulous dealers in various parts of the country.”

According to Microsoft, the latest piracy usage rate in Botswana is 80% as indicated by the Business Software Alliance’s latest survey.

In Botswana retailing of pirated software is a criminal offence, attracting a 10 year imprisonment sentence or a fine of not less than 20,000 pula.

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