WBHO, Group Five to face Competition Tribunal

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Competition Commission refers the last case arising out of its investigation of bid rigging in the construction sector to the Competition Tribunal.

The Competition Commission on Monday said it had referred the last case arising out of its investigation of bid rigging in the construction sector to the Competition Tribunal.

The case is against Wilson Bayly Holmes-Ovcon (WBHO‚ WBO)‚ which colluded with Group Five Construction (GRF) by fixing contractual conditions relating to the N17 link road between New Canada and Soccer City (N17 project).

The commission said its investigation found that at a meeting of the South African Federation of Civil Engineering Contractors Association (Safcec)‚ WBHO and Group Five agreed on a preferred set of contractual conditions for the N17 tender issued by the South African National Roads Agency Limited (Sanral).

The commission said that on the basis of this agreement the two companies requested Safcec to approach Sanral on their behalf to demand that Sanral change its tender conditions and issue the tender with the conditions they agreed on — amounting to the fixing of trading conditions‚ which contravenes the Competition Act.

WBHO was notified of this project during the construction fast track settlement process and was invited to settle‚ but rejected the offer.

“This referral marks the end of the commission’s investigation of collusive conduct in the construction sector arising out of the fast-track process. Our focus will now be on litigation of cases that were referred to the tribunal for prosecution‚” commissioner Tembinkosi Bonakele said.

“The construction sector remains one of the key sectors of the economy‚ which government is prioritising to drive infrastructure development. It is therefore necessary to address any collusive conduct‚ which might inflate the costs of rolling out infrastructure development‚” he said.


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