CIDB hunts Construction Cartels

Construction cartels could learn their fate as early as June, the Construction Industry Development Board (CIDB) told MPs on today. Briefing Parliament’s public works committee, CIDB chairperson Bafana Ndendwa said he was updated by the Competition Commission last week on a probe into the major construction industry companies which had admitted being guilty of collusive practices. “There are 21 companies that came in with disclosures and those companies, they [the Competition Commission] are processing it,” said Ndendwa. He could not satisfy MPs’ calls for the companies to be named and shamed, as commission rules prohibited him from doing so until an order had been made against the firms.

According to a report tabled in the committee, the commission received 160 applications in terms of its Corporate Leniency Policy (CLP) in November 2009. The policy is used as a means to encourage cartels to come forward and disclose their involvement in collusion in return for immunity from prosecution. The commission would issue fines as a deterrent to future collusive behaviour. Over 130 rigged projects worth around R26bn were identified. They included construction of stadiums and roads. “From the settlement applications, the 21 firms also implicated an additional 22 firms that had not participated in the settlement process,” the commission said in the report. It would probe the involvement of the 22 firms, following the finalisation of the settlement process.

Now it is only a question of time, when the banks and cellphone providers are moving into the target zone of the Competition commission!!

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