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Furniture removal company, Stuttaford Van Lines (Pty) Ltd (Stuttaford), has been charged with 649 counts of collusive tendering, in relation to hundreds of government tenders issued for furniture transportation.
“This includes tenders issued by the Presidency, Parliament, the SA Secret Service, the SA Police Service, the National Prosecuting Authority, SARS, the Reserve Bank, the Department of Justice, the Public Protector as well as SOEs and private companies,” the Competition Commission of South Africa said in a statement.
The Commission said Stuttaford faces the largest number of charges, as one single company, in the history of anti-cartel enforcement by the Commission.
The Commission is asking the Tribunal to fine the company 10% of its annual turnover on each of the 649 charges.
“The matter emanates from a Commission investigation that uncovered widespread and deep-rooted anti-competitive and collusive conduct in the furniture removal market.
“The investigation revealed Stuttaford colluded with its competitors from at least 2007 and entered into discreet collusive agreements relating to the furniture removal tenders, mostly involving government departments,” the Commission said.
This involved cover quotes being submitted as part of the tender processes.
Cover quotes are prices provided by a company that wishes to win a tender, to another company that does not wish to do so.
The case has been referred to the Tribunal for adjudication.
“All the companies found to have colluded with Stuttaford have subsequently settled with the Commission. These are JHRetief Transport CC, Cape Express Removals (Pty) Ltd, Patrick Removals (Pty) Ltd and De Lange Transport (Pty) Ltd,” the Commission said.