Commission findings on Simama sugar deal with Illovo challenged – Karonga Business Community

The business community in Malawi’s northern border district of Karonga are challenging the findings of the Competition and Fair Trade Commission which have faulted the country’s sugar manufacturing company Illovo and one the distributors Simama General Dealers of flouting  procedures for sugar distribution in the district.

In the findings which were published in one of the country’s dailies The Nation, the commission is accusing Simama of blocking small-scale sugar wholesalers to buy sugar directly from Illovo and also that it is not being transparent in its trading practices.

But speaking during the news conference on Wednesday at Simuka Inn, chairperson of the committee Wavisanga Silungwe said the allegation is false and will disturb unity among business people in Karonga.

Bishop Simama: Sugar deal triggers controversy
Bishop Simama: Sugar deal triggers controversy

He said they were not aware of the investigations made by the Commission which is an arm of the Malawi government  aimed to enforce competition among businesses in the country.

“The Commission did not consult any member in our committee during their investigation,” said Silungwe adding that, no small-scale sugar dealer in Karonga has ever been blocked by Simama General Dealers since it started and that more businesses are now benefiting from it because they get sugar on credit.

Paramount Chief Kyungu of Karonga has also distanced himself from the findings blaming the Commission that they did not consult reliable sources.

“I even don’t know that a Commission was doing investigations here, they could have found information from the real sources to balance the findings,” said Paramount Kyungu.

He then appealed to the entire business people in Karonga to unite when doing their business and solve the issues within Karonga to develop the district.

However, acting Executive Director of Competition and Fair Trade Commission Charlotte Malonda told Nyasa Times in a telephone interview that the investigations were done in three districts Karonga, Mzuzu and Lilongwe therefore their conclusion were based on the findings in all the districts.

Said Malonda “we are government arm and we enforce the competition of businesses in the country we don’t consult anybody in advance when doing our investigations.”

She added that they received complaints from some business people in Karonga which they expressed dissatisfaction with the operation of Simama General Dealers in the district and she assured that the findings are true reflection of things on the ground.

Malunda challenged that whoever is not satisfied with the findings is free to go to court and appeal.

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