The Directorate on Corruption and Economic Crime (DCEC) and the Competition Authority (CA) have teamed up to launch an investigation into a new practice by businesses to collude and inflate prices in the country.
It has since emerged that some companies often collude and get way with inflating prices in Botswana. Information reaching The Telegraph indicates that that DCEC and CA have intensified their investigations to root out both individuals and companies that are massively engaged in inflating prices; something which law enforcers say has now become a major concern in Botswana.
According to DCEC spokesperson Phakamile Kraai, the corruption busting organization has already started investigating the issue as it has become worrisome. He revealed that DCEC has investigated cases of collusion and price inflation; and continues to receive reports of inflated prices from concerned individuals and companies. Kraai said some individuals have already been arrested after investigations.
“But in most cases, companies are able to collude and get away with cheating unsuspecting members of the public,” he said.
He added: “At this point I can not divulge the names of the companies that are under investigation because some of the investigations are still on-going. However it must be noted that the trend cuts across the economic spectrum.”
Kraai indicated that they have requested various stakeholders to always investigate the proper prices before procuring items.
“DCEC has a memorandum of Understanding with the Competition Authority and PPADB to join forces on matters pertaining to collusion and bid rigging,” he said
For his part, CA spokesperson, Gideon Nkala told this publication that his organization also has cases that are being investigated in relation to inflated prices.
Nkala said so far they have not yet completed any investigation relating to inflated prices as such investigations normally take some time.
“It’s worrying, for example, to note that a company can quote ridiculous prices if asked to provide a quotation of two boxes of bottled water. Such behavior is criminal,” said Nkala.
He appealed to members of the public to report such cases immediately so that stringent action can be taken against the perpetrators. Meanwhile last week the Minister of Youth, Sports and Culture Thapelo Olopeng also voiced concern about certain companies that frustrate government’s efforts to empower Batswana by inflating prices.