Investigations and Enforcement
The COMESA Competition Commission (the “Commission”) works closely with national consumer protection authorities, government departments in charge of consumer protection, consumer bodies and the consumers in the COMESA Member States. These stakeholders are instrumental in bringing to the attention of the Commission unfair business practices within the Common Market. The Commission also disseminates pertinent information on consumer protection matters through its networks, including information on unsafe products that may be distributed in the market, and collaborates with all stakeholders to ensure that such products are not present or are removed from consumers’ reach. Where applicable, the Commission may undertake joint investigations with the relevant authorities on cross-border matters, to enhance the protection of consumers in the Region.
The principles of natural justice, which the Commission is obliged to adhere to in conducting its investigations, are meant to fully protect the interests of all parties. Under the principle of natural justice, all reasonable steps are taken to ensure that every person whose interests are likely to be affected by the outcome of the investigation is given an adequate opportunity to make representations in the matter.
The Commission has powers to investigate unfair business practices which have effect on consumers including making misleading or false representation to consumers, engaging in unconscionable conduct and distributing unsafe or defective products within the Common Market. The scope of the Commissio’s mandate relates to economic activities that affect, or have an effect in more than one COMESA Member State.
The Commission may receive consumer complaints from natural or legal persons, consumer bodies or complaints referred to it from the consumer protection authorities in the Member States. The Commission may also initiate investigations into consumer matters on its own volition based on information from market surveillance,
Remedial actions taken by the Commission on any unfair business conduct in breach of the regulations may include:
- Ordering the termination or nullification of the conduct.
- Direct the undertaking to cease and desist from the conduct and to take such steps it believes may be necessary to overcome the effects of the conduct.
- Order payment of compensation to persons affected.
- Impose a penalty of up to 10% of the total annual turnover of the concerned undertaking derived from the Common Market.