CCCS’s Leniency Programme is only available to businesses that are part of a cartel agreement or concerted practice, or trade associations that participate in or facilitate cartel activity.
Cartel agreements are the most serious type of infringement of the section 34 prohibition. Cartel activities include, amongst others, agreements between businesses to fix prices, to rig competitive bidding processes, to divide up markets and to restrict production. Cartel activities are detrimental to consumers (business and end consumers) because they restrict or remove competition between market players and also remove the incentive for market players to be efficient or to innovate. As such, it is CCCS’s policy that businesses found to have infringed the section 34 prohibition by participating in cartel agreements are likely to incur sizable financial penalties.
Cartel members are likely to be reluctant to come forward and report on their activities. Considering also that cartels are secretive by nature and therefore, difficult to detect, international experience has shown that leniency programmes are effective in incentivising businesses that have participated in cartel activities, to come forward to CCCS with information and evidence about the cartel.
If your business is part of a cartel and wishes to notify us about the matter, a leniency application should be made to CCCS as soon as possible. Even if you do not have substantial information or evidence of the cartel you may still apply for a leniency marker on behalf of your business and thereafter collect the information or evidence required to support your leniency application. If your business meets the relevant criteria and if it is the first to notify CCCS then it will be entitled to immunity from financial penalties (if CCCS has not commenced investigations yet) or a reduction of up to 100% of the financial penalties (if CCCS has already commenced investigation).
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