Incentive: Cartels get State amnesty

The Competition Authority of Kenya (CAK) Director-General Wang’ombe Kariuki. [File, Standard]
The Competition Authority of Kenya (CAK) has announced an amnesty for firms involved in restrictive trade practices.

The move is an incentive for businesses to mend their ways while exposing cartels that have infiltrated several sectors of the economy.

Such firms and business executives will benefit from amnesty from prosecution in exchange for information on existing cartels.

“The authority has in the past detected cartel-like behaviour in the retail, cement, insurance, advertising and agriculture sectors,” explained CA Director-General Wang’ombe Kariuki (pictured) in an interview.

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“We have introduced a leniency programme offering full or partial immunity to entities engaging in restrictive trade practices and who self-report and provide evidence.”

According to Mr Kariuki, an entity involved in a cartel must be the first one to inform the authority of an undetected cartel in order to benefit from the leniency programme and obtain total immunity. The leniency applicant must also provide sufficient information to allow the authority to launch an investigation at the premises of the businesses allegedly involved in the cartel.

The programme also covers ongoing investigations into cartels where applicants who provide additional evidence that enables the authority to prove the cartel infringement will be immune from prosecution on their role in the same.

“Since cartel-like behaviour is usually covert, leniency programmes are an effective way of destabilising them by giving a window to businesses that want to exit the relationship to do so through whistle-blowing,” said Mr Kariuki.

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