Trans­port firm’s fine for ap­peal

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THE COM­PE­TI­TION Com­mis­sion would ap­peal the R450 000 fine im­posed by the Com­pe­ti­tion Tri­bunal against fur­ni­ture re­moval firm Stan­ley’s Re­movals, the tri­bunal said yes­ter­day. This comes after the com­mis­sion rec­om­mended that the fine im­posed be higher than what the tri­bunal fi­nally con­firmed. In a state­ment yes­ter­day, the tri­bunal ex­plained that Stan­ley’s Re­movals was fined R450 000 for col­lu­sion by the tri­bunal. The fine was con­firmed on De­cem­ber 12. In Novem­ber 2010, the com­mis­sion ini­ti­ated an in­ves­ti­ga­tion into col­lu­sion in the fur­ni­ture re­moval in­dus­try. The com­mis­sion in­vited in­dus­try firms to set­tle in­stances of col­lu­sive con­duct, and so far 16 had set­tled, the tri­bunal said. Among those im­pli­cated was Stan­ley’s, it said. The com­pany was ac­cused of en­gag­ing in cover pric­ing with Cape Ex­press, and had ad­mit­ted the of­fences. Stan­ley’s and the com­mis­sion could not agree on the quan­tum of the penalty and the mat­ter was brought to the tri­bunal, it said. The Com­pe­ti­tion Com­mis­sion had rec­om­mended a fine of 10 per­cent of Stan­ley’s turnover per in­stance, for eight of­fences, but the tri­bunal in its rea­sons said it had re­duced the fine to keep it in line with the set­tle­ment agree­ments of other fur­ni­ture com­pa­nies, such as Stan­ley’s co-ac­cused Cape Ex­press, which was fined R645 710 for 1 744 in­ci­dents. “The tri­bunal made it clear that though the set­tle­ments by con­sent or­ders did not cre­ate bind­ing prece­dent in op­posed mat­ters, they could be used as a yard­stick for set­ting an ap­pro­pri­ate penalty.”

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