Fireco Gaut­eng to pay R1m fine

The Star Early Edition - - NEWS - Roy Cokyane

A SET­TLE­MENT agree­ment be­tween fire con­trol and pro­tec­tion ser­vices provider Fireco Gaut­eng, now named KRS Fire, and the Com­pe­ti­tion Com­mis­sion in terms of which Fireco Gaut­eng agreed to pay a fine of R909 376.29 for col­lu­sion has been con­firmed by the Com­pe­ti­tion Tri­bunal.

The tri­bunal said yes­ter­day that an ad­den­dum to the con­sent agree­ment with Fireco Gaut­eng, which ad­dressed a con­cern about the word­ing of the con­sent agree­ment that the tri­bunal had raised dur­ing a hear­ing of the case ear­lier this month, was made an or­der of the tri­bunal.

It had ex­pressed con­cern about the word­ing of the con­sent agree­ment be­cause it meant that Fireco Gaut­eng’s con­di­tional le­niency in re­spect of mar­ket al­lo­ca­tion was granted rather than be­ing con­di­tional on it co-op­er­at­ing with the com­mis­sion in the prose­cu­tion of the other mem­bers of the car­tel. It is the sec­ond set­tle­ment con­firmed by the tri­bunal.

The tri­bunal ear­lier this month con­firmed a set­tle­ment agree­ment in terms of which Afrion Prop­erty Ser­vices cc (Afrion), which is also spe­cial­is­ing in sup­ply­ing, in­stalling and main­tain­ing fire con­trol and pro­tec­tion sys­tems in South Africa and the con­ti­nent, agreed to pay a fine of R327 201.85 for col­lu­sion with In­de­pen­dent Fire Pro­tec­tion Ser­vices, which has since ceased op­er­at­ing.

The other com­pa­nies re­ferred to the tri­bunal in March for prose­cu­tion were Belfa Fire, Cross Fire Man­age­ment, Fire Pro­tec­tion Sys­tems, Fireco, and Tsh­wane Fire Sprin­klers cc.

The re­fer­ral fol­lowed the search and seizure dawn raid by com­mis­sion in­ves­ti­ga­tors in March 2015 on the of­fices of six Gaut­eng based firms as part of an in­ves­ti­ga­tion into al­leged col­lu­sive con­duct. This in­cluded the in­stal­la­tion and main­te­nance of au­to­matic sprin­kler sys­tems, hy­drants, hose reels and ex­tin­guish­ers.

Sipho Ng­wema, a spokesper­son for the com­mis­sion, said in March when the cases were re­ferred to the tri­bunal that the com­mis­sion’s in­ves­ti­ga­tion found that from at least 1996 to 2015 the com­pa­nies en­tered into agree­ments and/or en­gaged in a con­certed prac­tice to fix prices, di­vide mar­kets and ten­dered col­lu­sively.

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