By AAT Senior Contributor, Michael-James Currie.
Dawn raids are gaining significant traction throughout the African agencies following the Namibian Competition Commission (NaCC) very recent (16 September 2016), raid conducted at the operations at Puma Energy in Windhoek. The raid follows the NaCC having received numerous third party complaints alleging that Puma Energy was abusing its dominance by engaging in excessive pricing practices in the aviation fuel supply market.
The NaCC had recently published Guidelines in relation to Restrictive Practices. The Guidelines focus primarily on the NaCC’s investigative powers and in particular, search and seizure operations. Africanantitrust suspected that the Guidelines would result in a move by the agency to be more proactive in its efforts to detect, prosecute and ultimately combat anti-competitive practices.
Africanantitrust had noted that search and seizure operations by competition law agencies across Africa were on the rise. The South African Competition Commission has drastically increased its utilisation of dawn raids as an investigative tool in its arsenal. The SACC has, furthermore, provided guidance and training to a number of other African jurisdictions respective agencies on search and seizure operations and how to conduct effective dawn raids under the auspices of the African Competition Forum. Says John Oxenham, competition practitioner with Pr1merio: “2016 saw Kenya conduct its first dawn raid in the fertiliser sector as well as Zambia increasing the number of dawn raids conducted.”
The South African Competition Commission’s advocacy efforts should be considered in light of the number of recently concluded Memoranda of Understanding which the SACC has entered into with other regional agencies as well, including the NaCC.
In terms of the MoU with Namibia, it is envisaged that there will be greater cooperation in relation to information exchanges and assistance with common investigations between the NaCC and the SACC.
The NaCC is yet to prosecute an abuse of dominance case and we will ensure that Africanantrust continues to monitor this case and provide our followers with timeous updates should any significant further developments take place.