Monday, June 24, 2024

High Courts upholds CCPC’s decision to fine Puma Energy 2% of annual turn over

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High Court
The Lusaka High Court has upheld the decision by the Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (CCPC) to fine Puma Energy Zambia Limited K50 million for consistently abrogating the Commission’s merger conditions as stipulated under Section 34 of the CCP Act of 2010.

The High Court has also squashed the 6th August, 2014 judgement of the Competition and Consumer Protection Tribunal which ruled that the CCPC had no jurisdiction to fine Puma Energy without getting a mandatory order from itself.

In passing judgment on the case in which the Competition and Consumer Protection Tribunal ruled that the Commission had not jurisdiction to fine Puma Energy, High Court Judge, Honorable Justice Chishimba, said CCPC had the jurisdiction to fine Puma Energy under section 37 of the Competition and Consumer Protection Act No. 24 of 2010.

For the foregoing reasons, I uphold the Appellant’s appeal with costs’, read part of the judgement.

Hon. Justice Chishimba said the tribunal erred in law and fact by finding the CCPC acted ultra vires the Act without jurisdiction.

The High Court Judge ruled that the CCPC had the discretion to impose a fine under section 37 without recourse to the Tribunal, and that the K50 million was recoverable as a debt with reference to section 86(1) of the Competition and Consumer Protection Act.

“From my reading of the provisions in issue, I find that the Appellant (CCPC) had the jurisdiction to fine the Respondent (Puma Energy) and further that it is not mandatory for the Competition and Consumer Protection Commission to obtain a mandatory order of compliance from the Tribunal.

The CCPC Board of Commissioners on Friday 17th August, 2012 imposed a fine of 2% of Annual turnover on Puma Energy Zambia for consistently abrogating the Commission’s merger conditions as stipulated under Section 34 of the CCP Act of 2010.

“The 2% of Annual turnover fine slapped against Puma Energy Zambia can easily be estimated at K50 million (rebased) give or take”, Mrs Mwanza, Director Legal and Corporate Affairs said.

The Commission has since warned that it will not hesitate to punish all enterprises that abrogate any provision in the Competition and Consumer Protection Act or any condition it puts in place in order to safeguard competition in any sector of the economy.

“I wish to further assure the nation that the Commission will continue to be vigilant and also ensure that it enforces the law in a very consistent manner for the benefit of the Zambian people,” she said.

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