ALL companies that increased mealie meal prices without authorization will be fined 10 percent of their annual turnover, the Consumer Competition and Protection Commission (CCPC) has warned.
CCPC public relations officer Hanford Chaba said in an interview that the commission was actively investigating a case in which millers through their president decided to hike mealie meal prices disadvantaging consumers.
Mr Chaba said the decision by millers was a violation of section 8 of the protection of the consumer right and did not allow cartel conduct because it was considered to be a criminal offence.
He said the commission was in the middle of the investigation and that the public would be informed as soon as investigations were concluded.
“So from the time their president announced that millers resolved to increase prices, the commission started investigating the issue and members of the public will be informed from whatever findings we are going to come up with because we are actually in the middle of the investigation,” he said.
Mr Chaba stressed that if the commission found tangible evidence of millers exploiting consumers, all milling companies who took part in the decision would be fined a maximum of 10 percent of their annual turnovers.
“We might not offload a lot of information now, but just to inform members of the public that we are actively investigating this issue and cartel conduct is criminal 0ffence and when we find tangible evidence to this particular cause, it will require that all the milling companies that were party to these discussions will have to be fined a maximum of 10 percent of their annual turnovers,
“The milling companies who are trying to connive and start agreeing on prices, they have dark corner meetings and agree on how much they are going to increase as announced by their president,” he said
Millers Association of Zambia (MAZ) through their president Allan Sakala announced that they had resorted to increase mealie meal prices by between K10 and K15 respectively.
Mr Sakala attributed the increase to the low production of the commodity due to load shedding.