Reply to ST Forum Letter on the Fresh Chicken Distributors Cartel

Price-fixing investigations took long time because of due process

We refer to Foo Kia Juah's letter (What took CCCS so long?; Sept 14).

The amount of time needed to investigate cases depends on several factors, including the number of parties involved, the amount of information obtained and the complexity of the case.

After the Competition and Consumer Commission of Singapore (CCCS) first issued its proposed infringement decision against the fresh chicken distributors in 2016, new allegations and admissions were brought to CCCS' attention by some of the fresh chicken distributors. This led to further investigations and CCCS issuing a supplementary proposed infringement decision last year to allow those implicated to respond.

In the case of our infringement decision against the 13 fresh chicken distributors, a large number of parties was involved and their conduct took place over a long duration of seven years. Furthermore, cartels are secretive in nature and hard to detect. Thus, more time is generally required to gather or uncover evidence.

Due process is important for a robust and credible competition regime. In this regard, businesses served with a proposed infringement decision are given sufficient time to review the evidence and make their representations to CCCS, which will finalise its decision only after careful consideration of the representations as well as all available information and evidence.

Teo Wee Guan
Director (International & Strategic Planning)
Competition and Consumer Commission of Singapore