NaCC ordered to give back Puma Energy’s seized documents

 

The Namibia Competition Commission has been ordered to return documents seized from Puma Energy Namibia (Pty) Ltd two years ago during a dawn raid on its premises in connection with suspected anticompetitive practices.

 

The first ever search and seizure was to determine whether Puma’s pricing for the supply of aviation fuel at the Eros and Ondangwa airports amounted to excessive pricing in contravention of the Competition Act.

 

The charging of excessive price is prohibited in terms of section 26(1) read with section 26(2)(a) of the Competition Act, the commission said.

 

It came out that the company was allegedly abusing its dominant position regarding the supply of aviation fuel (Jet A-1 and Avgas) at the two airports.

 

 The commission carried out the raid between September the 15th and 16th in 2016 to obtain documentary and electronic evidence as part of a preliminary investigative step undertaken against the energy firm.

 

After having disputed the basis upon which the commission had been granted a warrant to proceed with the dawn raid, Puma Energy officials who showed up at the court yesterday were all smiles when High Court Judge Geier set the warrant aside with costs for two instructed and one instructing council.

 

The documents, devices and electronic data were ordered to be returned back within two days from the date of the judgement.

 

Nevertheless, the commission has lamented that excessive pricing was a concern especially in the case of Puma due to the fact that when charged to aircraft operators and owners at airports it would ultimately be passed on to consumers in the form of higher ticket prices.

 

The commission also said the act could also undermine the ability of aircraft owners and operators to have free capital which could be invested in helping create and explore opportunities.

 

Such opportunities could help derive benefits for the economy, such as the creation of additional employment opportunities and the procuring of better quality products, etc.

 

 

“The Commission can in terms of section 34 of the Competition Act, Act 2 of 2003 (“Competition Act”) conduct a dawn raid to ascertain or establish whether a party has engaged in or is engaging or about to engage in conduct that constitutes or may constitute an infringement of Competition Act,” NaCC said.