Farmers World, Peacock Seeds and Be Forward Company among companies fined for unfair trade practices

Farm input suppliers Farmers World and Peacock Seed Enterprises Limited and used car dealer, Be Forward Company (Malawi) Limited, are among companies the Competition and Fair Trading Commission (CFTC) has slapped with various degrees of fines for engaging in unfair and anti-competitive business practices.

Others are Eazy Borehole Drillers, Naheed Supermarket, Health and Beauty Care Pvt. Ltd, Dairibord Malawi Limited, SANU Mobile Ltd,

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Total Electronics Ltd, HMS Foods and Grains Ltd and Intercape Bus Services.

In a press statement issued on Tuesday, CFTC says it fined Farmers World for supplying an uncertified product to its customers in Kasungu. The determination followed shop inspections, which the Commission conducted at Farmers World- Kasungu Branch on 19th September, 2019.

The statement says during the inspections, the Commission found that Farmers World was stocking “PERFECT Scones and Mandasi Flour” without labels to show that the product was certified by Malawi Bureau of Standards.

Investigations established that the product was in actual fact certified by the MBS, under a Pre-certification regime.

The manufacturer of the product (HMS Foods and Grains Ltd) furnished the Commission with the pre-certification certificate. The manufacturer, however, had not put the pre-certification mark on the packaging of the product; hence, the product was insufficiently labelled.

“Following deliberations, the Commission made the following orders: The Respondent should pay a fine of Five Hundred Thousand Kwacha (MK500,000) for infringement of the CPA. The Respondent should cease and desist from providing products with insufficient labelling,” reads the statement in part.

On the other hand, Peacock Seed Enterprises Limited has been fined for contravening Section 43(1) (g) of the CFTA.

The Commission heard that the company supplied an unnamed complainant with 28, 250 kg of maize seed worth MK 9,785,868.75 during the 2016/17 season.

The Complainant was to be paid MK 8,992,292.69 of which she was only paid MK6,600,000.00, leaving a balance of MK 2,392,292.69.

Investigations established that there was a contract that was signed between the parties under which the Complainant satisfied her obligations by supplying the maize seed as per the contract.

However, Peacock Seed Enterprises Limited did not fully fulfil their obligations, as they had not paid the full amount for the contracted volumes.

“The Commission concluded that the respondent (Peacock Seed Enterprises Limited) had contravened Section 43(1)(g) of the CFTA. Secretariat reported that they had received information in form of copies of cheques, showing that the Respondent had paid the outstanding balance. Following deliberations, the Commission made the following orders: The Secretariat should verify with the Complainant that the Respondent paid the Complainant the outstanding balance of MK 2,392,292.69; the Respondent should pay a fine of Five Hundred Thousand Kwacha (MK 500,000) for engaging in unconscionable conduct; and the Respondent should cease and desist from engaging in unconscionable conduct towards seed growers,” says the Commission in its determination.

The Commission has also fined Eazy Borehole Drillers K500, 000 for violating Section 43(1) (g) of the CFTA.

The company was engaged in unfair trading conduct. The complainants alleged that they paid MK 2,700,000.00 as full payment for drilling a 60-meter deep irrigation borehole at Thondwe; and MK 1,350,000.00 as part payment for another 60mdeep borehole at their household use at Naisi Spur in Zomba.

However, for the first borehole at Thondwe, the Respondent allegedly drilled only a 35m borehole which did not yield any water. Likewise, the borehole that was drilled at Naisi Spur did not meet the required specifications in terms of depth and water yielded.

The investigations launched by Secretariat established that the Respondent engaged in unconscionable conduct contrary to Section 43(1)(g) of the CFTA as the Respondent was paid for drilling services of two boreholes with a minimum depth of 60m but only drilled around half the depth that was agreed.

“Based on the above, the Commission made the following orders the Respondent (Eazy Borehole Drillers) should pay a fine of Five Hundred Thousand Malawi Kwacha (MK 500,000) for violation of Section 43(1)(g) of the CFTA; the respondent should complete drilling of the borehole at Thondwe to the prescribed 60m depth; the respondent should complete drilling of the borehole at Naisi to the prescribed 60m depth and finally the Respondent should cease and desist from engaging in unconscionable conduct,” reads the determination.

The statement further states that the Commission fined Naheed Supermarket for selling expired Yozi Shake Peach flavor to some customers while Health and Beauty Care Pvt. Limited was found guilty of supplying products likely to cause injury or physical harm to consumers after they found the latter company with a 200 ML bottle of “Hand & Body Lotion” manufactured by them with two labels indicating different sets of manufacturing and expiry dates.

The Commission fined Naheed Supermarket K500, 000 while Health and Beauty Care Pvt. Limited was slapped with a MK2,000,000 fine for engaging in unfair trade practices; and another K2 million their uncooperative behavior towards the Commission.

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