Dawn raids on the rise: Competition Commission conducts its third dawn raid in four weeks

Publication October 15, 2015

The Competition Commission announced that it raided the premises of five suppliers of liquid petroleum gas and gas cylinders on 14 October 2015. The Commission was looking for evidence to support an allegation that the competitors fix the prices and deposit fees for gas cylinders.

On 23 September 2015, the Commission conducted raids on the premises of three recruitment advertising agencies regarding allegations of collusive tendering, including tender rotations and alleged coordinated responses to requests for quotations.

On 30 September 2015, after more than a dozen furniture removal companies entered into settlement arrangements with the Commission for collusive conduct, the Commission carried out a dawn raid at the premises of four other furniture removal companies. This was the second dawn raid in this investigation.

All of these raids were conducted by the Commission using a search warrant which allows for the collection of hard copy documents and electronic data. The Commission typically employs the services of highly sophisticated forensic IT experts.

The Commission is increasingly prepared to use its most invasive powers to obtain information on suspected cartel behaviour and all sectors are at risk.

These raids cause serious business disruption and can be traumatic for staff. It is important to be prepared and have a strategy in place to deal with a dawn raid. There are steps that legal representatives can take to protect the business, preserve privileged and confidential information and safeguard employee rights during this difficult process. Companies should urgently review their dawn raid plan or implement one immediately. All companies should be seeking legal advice on competition law compliance to address any possible contraventions of the Competition Act, before the Commission comes looking for evidence.

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