CCPC launch investigations into suspected mealie meal and flour price fixing

THE Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (CCPC) has opened investigations into suspected price fixing of mealie meal and flour by the Millers Association of Zambia (MAZ) and its members in Lusaka. CCPC acting executive director Brian Lingela said a team of investigators from the Commission conducted a search on MAZ and other major milling companies in Lusaka for suspected engagement or facilitation of the price fixing of the commodities.

“A team of our investigators conducted a dawn raid at the premises of the Millers’ Association of Zambia (MAZ), National Milling Corporation (NMC), Superior Milling Company Limited and Simba Milling Company Limitedin search of documentary evidence showing that the Association and its members were coordinating in setting mealie meal and flour prices,” says CCPC acting executive director Brian Lingela. THE Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (CCPC) has opened investigations into suspected price fixing of mealie meal and flour by the Millers Association of Zambia (MAZ) and its members in Lusaka.

CCPC acting executive director Brian Lingela said a team of investigators from the Commission conducted a search on MAZ and other major milling companies in Lusaka for suspected engagement or facilitation of the price fixing of the commodities.

“A team of our investigators conducted a dawn raid at the premises of the Millers' Association of Zambia (MAZ), National Milling Corporation (NMC), Superior Milling Company Limited and Simba Milling Company Limitedin search of documentary evidence showing that the Association and its members were coordinating in setting mealie meal and flour prices,” he explained.

He further noted that the conduct by MAZ and its members to fix prices would result in the prevention, restriction or distortion of competition in the supply and pricing of the named commodities.

Mr. Lingela added that the Commission from the period 2010 to 2015 observed that MAZ was acting with other parties suspected of taking part or assisting the conduct which was likely to prevent or restrict competition in both the supply and pricing of flour and mealie meal.

“We as the Commission suspect that the Association and its members have been agreeing to simultaneously increase the price of the commodities,” he noted.

This follows the statement by MAZ informing the general public that it had together with its members resolved to increase the price of mealie meal between K10 and K15 per 25kg bag, thereby triggering a price increase of the country's staple food.

Mr. Lingela lamented that the alleged conduct by MAZ and its members was contrary to Section 8 and 9(1) of the Competition and Consumer Protection Act (CCPA) No. 24 of 2010 which prohibits agreements, decisions or concerted practices that prevent, restrict of distort competition and agreements that fix, whether directly or indirectly, a purchase or selling price or any trading conditions of goods and services.

He further added that the Director whose company is found liable upon conviction by a court of law for violating the law will be punished accordingly.

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