Directorate of Road Traffic and Safety Services (DRTSS) has rescinded its decision to challenge the Competition of Fair Trading Commission (CFTC) which condemned it for engaging in anti-competitive conduct.
DRTSS spokesperson Angelina Makwecha confirmed that Attorney General (AG) Thabo Chakaka-Nyirenda advised them against appealing the CFTC’s decision.
The CFTC fined DRTSS and Malawi Bureau of Standards (MBS) K500 000 each after faulting the manner in which DTRSS awarded a contract to Motor Vehicle Spares and Accessories (Movesa) to import and supply retro-reflective blank number plates in the country.
But AG Thabo Chakaka-Nyirenda, who was expected to appeal on behalf of the two institutions, advised them to comply with the CFTC’s determination.
In a response to a questionnaire, Makwecha said her institution has acted on the AG’s advice and accordingly paid the fine.
However, she clarified that there was no contract between her department and Movesa.
Makwecha explained that the importation of blank number plates is governed by Section 17 of the Road Traffic Act (1997) and Road Traffic (Registration and Licensing) (Amendment) Regulations, 2010 which spell out the relationship between DRTSS, importers, embossers and motor vehicle owners.
She said: “DRTSS as a regulator is only responsible for the registration and issuance of importer and embosser certificate or licence after an applicant meets the minimum legal requirements.
“The embossers purchase the blank number plates from importers who in turn sell the number plates to motor vehicle owners…DRTSS issues a certificate or licence which may be suspended or cancelled if one contravenes the legal requirements.”
Since DRTSS has complied with CFTC, it means DRTSS will cancel Movesa’s licence.
Makwecha said DRTSS as a regulator can only suspend or cancel the licence of an importer of blank number plates if the importer does not comply with the legal requirements.
MBS spokesperson Monica Khombe in a response to a questionnaire said her institution took the AG’s advice and paid the K500 000.
CFTC had also recommended to Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) to investigate DTRSS and MBS to establish if there were any elements of corruption in the award of the contract to Movesa.
Movesa did not respond to our questionnaire.
The findings of CFTC emanated from a complaint lodged to CFTC by another supplier, Bulldog Spares and Suppliers Limited.
In its determination, CFTC had also ordered MBS and DRTSS to cease and desist from engaging in anti-competitive conducts in the enforcement of standards in the importation of blank number plates in Malawi.
According to the findings of CFTC, Bulldog Spares and Suppliers lodged a complaint to CFTC on alleged anti-competitive conduct regarding the importation of blank retro-reflective plates for motor vehicles. The complaint alleged that DRTSS and MBS favoured one importer, a conduct which was construed as restrictive business practice by the complainant.