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THE COMESA COMPETITION COMMISSION IMPOSED A FINE FOR NON￾COMPLIANCE WITH ARTICLE 24(1) OF THE REGULATIONS

2021-09-07
The COMESA Competition Commission (the “Commission”) wishes to inform the general public that the Seventy Eighth (78th) Committee Responsible for Initial Determinations (CID) meeting held on 3rd
September 2021 imposed a fine in relation to the proposed acquisition by Helios Towers Limited (“Helios Towers”) of the shares of Madagascar Towers S.A (“Madagascar Towers”) and Malawi Towers Limited (“Malawi Towers”) (together the “Parties”) for failure to notify the transaction to the Commission within the prescribed time period under Article 24 (1) of the COMESA Competition Regulations of 2004 (the “Regulations”) which reads as follows: 
“A party to a notifiable merger shall notify the Commission in writing of the proposed merger as soon as it is practicable but in no event later than 30 days of the parties’ decision to merge.” 

Background to the Proposed Merger
The Parties have operations in the Common Market. In particular, Helios Towers operates in the Democratic Republic of Congo and is incorporated in Malawi and Madagascar as Helios Towers Malawi Limited and Helios Towers Madagascar Limited. The target firms, Madagascar Towers and Malawi Towers are part of the Airtel Africa Group Companies which provide passive telecommunication infrastructure in Madagascar and Malawi, respectively. 

The CID at its 78th meeting observed that a decision to merge was executed on 23rd March 2021, being the date the Share Sale and Purchase Agreement for the proposed transaction was signed, but the proposed merger was only notified to the Commission on 2nd July 2021 pursuant to Article 24(3) of the Regulations. The CID observed that the Parties were required to complete the merger notification on 22nd April 2021 in accordance with Article 24 (1) of the Regulations. In this regard, the CID concluded that the Parties breached Article 24 (1) of the Regulations since the merger notification was filed to the Commission more than 30 days after they executed the decision to merge. 

In view of this, the CID considered Article 24 (4) of the Regulations which confers jurisdiction upon the Commission to impose penalties where parties to a merger fail to give notice as required by Article 24 (1) of the Regulations. The CID also considered thatArticle 24 (5) of the Regulations provides that such penalties may not exceed ten percent of either or both the merging Parties’ annual turnover in the Common Market as reflected in the accounts of any Party concerned for the preceding financial year. 

Therefore, the CID determined and concluded that the Parties be fined a fine of 0.05% of their combined turnover in the Common Market in the financial year of 2020, for breaching Article 24 (1) of the Regulations taking cognizant of the following: 
- The primary objective of penalties is to deter future violations by the undertakings concerned and other would-be offenders;
- The maximum penalty of 10% is not applicable in this scenario given the nature of the contravention and having considered the factors stipulated under Article 26 (6) 
of the Regulations that:
o The breach did not result in any loss or harm in the market;
o The Parties cooperated with the Commission from the time they were engaged leading to the merger being notified on 2nd July 2021 following their initial engagement; and
o The Parties have no record of contravention with the Regulations

The CID further concluded that if the Parties are aggrieved by its determination, they may appeal to the full Board of Commissioners in accordance with Article 15 (1) (d) of the Regulations as read together with Rule 24 (e) of the COMESA Competition Rules of 2004. 

The Commission’s Registrar, Ms. Meti Disasa, stated that “the fine was the first of a kind for breach of the Regulations. The Commission therefore wishes to remind Undertakings in the Common Market to be cautious of the prescribed timeline for notifying mergers in under Article 24 (1) of the Regulations.” She further cautioned undertakings operating in the Common Market to comply with all other parts of the Regulations especially with respect to anti-competitive conduct as the Commission shall henceforth not take lightly any breaches of the regional competition law.  

The Commission further wishes to inform the general public that the decision to fine has no impact on the Commission’s assessment of any competitive effects of the merger, which is still ongoing.  

The Registrar

COMESA Competition Commission

CCPC and KMC Seize Goods Worth Over K7, 000 in Central Province

2021-09-02
Assorted goods worth K7,678 have been seized by the Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (CCPC) in an inspection conducted on the 27th of August in collaboration with the Kabwe Municipal Council (KMC) in Central Province.

The items seized include drinks such as Coca-Cola, Pepsi, Fruiticana, Appy Apple, Ninja Drink, Sunblast Crush Juice as well as Bread and Delite Cereal.

The seized products did not meet the mandatory product information standards set by Section 50 of the Competition and Consumer Protection Act (CCPA) No.24 of 2010 and the Food and Drugs Act Cap 303 of the Laws of Zambia.

The inspection covered 4 trading premises of Kabwe’s New Market Central Business District (CBD) with the aim of assessing the traders’ compliance levels with the Act for enhancement of competition and promotion of consumer protection in Zambia.

The Commission will continue to ensure that consumers are protected from any unfair trading practices in the country by consistently collaborating with Local Authorities and other relevant stakeholders.

Namukolo M. Kasumpa

Senior Public Relations Officer

CCPC and MMC Seize Goods Worth Over K3,000 in Western Province

2021-08-11
The Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (CCPC) in partnership with the Mongu Municipal Council (MMC) have seized assorted goods worth K3,901 in Mongu district Western Province.

Among the items seized include Yess- Ginger Beer, Red Rock Cola, Frooty Soft Drink, Jolly Juice, Twist Drink, Fanta, Sprite, Cowbell Milk sachets, Freshpikit Baked Beans, Flair Baked Beans, D’lite Grown Ups, Hugos Mixed Fruit as well as Chelsea, Chicco and Choco Mint- Biscuits.

Other products seized are KOO Baked Beans, Milo, Rhodes Mixed Vegetables, Rhodes Mixed Fruit Jam, Riteband Peach Halves, Riteband Mixed Vegetables, Deep Clean- Bar Soap, Protex, Always Sanitary Pads, raw Apples and Oranges including Big Tree, Cowbell and NIDO milk products.

The seized products did not meet the mandatory product information standards set by Section 50 of the Competition and Consumer Protection Act (CCPA) No. 24 of 2010 as well as the Food and Drugs Act Cap 303 of the Laws of Zambia. 

The inspection covered 10 trading premises of Mandanga’s Central Business District (CBD) in Mongu and aimed at assessing the traders’ compliance levels with the Act for enhancement of competition and promotion of consumer protection in Zambia.

The Commission in collaboration with MCC and other relevant stakeholders will continue to enforce the law in accordance with their respective mandates in order to ensure that consumers are protected from any unfair trading practices in the country.

Namukolo M. Kasumpa

Senior Public Relations Officer

JOB ADVERT

2021-07-23
The Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (CCPC) is a statutory body under Ministry of Commerce Trade and Industry. The CCPC was established under the Competition and Consumer Protection Act No. 24 of 2010 of the Laws of Zambia.

Its Mission statement is to safeguard and promote a competitive business environment and enhance consumer welfare by prohibiting anti-competitive and unfair trading practices in Zambia. 

In order to align its operations to good governance practices, the CCPC wishes to recruit for the following post:

POSITION: CALL CENTRE ASSISTANT - LUSAKA (1) 

DIRECTORATE: CONSUMER PROTECTION

REPORTS TO: PROVINCIAL INVESTIGATOR – LUSAKA PROVINCE

Responsibilities 

1. Answering phone calls from consumers professionally and responding to customer inquiries and complaints timely.
2. Undertakes effectively the receipt and processing of competition and consumer complaints using the telephone/mobile phones/WhatsApp in order to facilitate investigations.
3. Researching required information using available resources in order to give accurate feedback to consumers.
4. Handling and resolving consumer complaints.
5. Providing consumers with information on the organization’s services.
6. Identifying and escalating complicated cases to management.
7. Following up on consumer calls where required.
8. Recording details of comments, inquiries, complaints, and actions taken.
9. Weekly submission of returns to Provincial Investigator-Lusaka Province
10. Any other duties as assigned by superior

Qualifications and skills

1. Full Grade 12 Certificate or equivalent;
2. Diploma in Front Office Management or equivalent;
3. Self-starter with demonstrable stable, sober, mature disposition;
4. Excellent computer skills (MS Word, Excel, Power Point etc.);
5. Integrity, confidentiality, initiative, active listener, negotiating skills and interpersonal skills;
6. Team player, committed, motivated, problem solving and pays attention to detail.

Eligible candidates are encouraged to apply to:

The Director Human Resource and Administration
Competition and Consumer Protection Commission
4th Floor, Main Post Office
Cairo Road
P O Box 34919
LUSAKA

The closing date is Friday, 6th August 2021

Namukolo M. Kasumpa

Senior Public Relations Officer

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