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Leniency Policy in competition matters

Despite suggestions to draft and apply a Leniency Policy, it appears that the Namibia Competition Commission is caught between a rock and a hard place as it envisages to restrict anti-competitive behaviour. Leniency was the buzzword this week when competition experts from neighbouring countries descended on Windhoek as part of the Competition Commission’s annual gathering.
Speaking on the issue briefly, its Director for Restrictive Business Practices, Ashley Tjipitua indicated that while the Commission lacked a cartel detection method, the Commission was looking at various mechanisms it intends to use.
“We have been advised by the Competition Commission of South Africa to adopt a Leniency Policy. We have drafted a policy and there have been challenges in terms of its interpretation. It has been our struggle.”
Tjipitua acknowledged that discussions were held with the Attorney General and noted that a possible solution would be amending the Competition Act or seeking a derective from the Board of Commissioners serving the Commission. This, she indicated would perhaps give the Competition Commission much needed leeway in the enforcement of a leniency policy. However as is standard practice, she lamented the slow progress required to bring amendments to existing bills.
Indecisively, Tjipitua noted, “we have also looked at a whistle-blower policy. We have considered the adoption of a whistle-blower policy Dawn raids are perhaps the best tool. We have spoken to the Competition Commission of South Africa [on the matter of the raids]. This year may actually be our first year to raid.”
Advocate David Unterhalter, a member of the Johannesburg Bar and one of the main speakers at the symposium also spoke positively on the need for the introduction of a Leniency Policy. Delivering the keynote address, he said, “a Leniency Policy should be done as soon as possible.”

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