On 27 July 2012 the Competition Appeal Court (CAC) dismissed an
appeal by Paramount Mills (Proprietary) Limited (Paramount) against
an order of the Competition Tribunal (Tribunal). The Tribunal order
had rejected Paramount's application to dismiss a complaint
referral by the Competition Commission (Commission) on the grounds
of the referral being time-barred and not legally competent.
Paramount appealed against that order to the CAC.
Following the Commission's prosecution of a bread cartel
including Premier Foods, Tiger Brands and Pioneer Foods for fixing
prices and other trading conditions, the Commission expanded its
investigation to include Paramount, which was revealed as a
participant in the cartel during its investigation.
On 31 March 2010 the Commission referred a complaint to the
Tribunal against Paramount and seventeen other respondents,
alleging that they operated a cartel in the milled white maize meal
market during the period 1999 to 2007. The Commission sought an
administrative penalty of 10% of each respondent's annual
Paramount denied participation in any cartel meetings with the
major market players and reaching agreement in respect of price.
Paramount approached the Tribunal for an order dismissing the
referral. The company averred that the complaint was not legally
competent as it does not meet the test of legality and
intelligibility, and that it was time-barred because Paramount was
only implicated in telephone conversations that took place in
The Tribunal dismissed Paramount's arguments, ruling that
Paramount did not plead the prescription point properly in its
answering affidavit and did not aver facts to show the conduct had
Lastly, the CAC held that the Commission pleaded with sufficient
particularity to enable Paramount to understand the allegations
against it. If Paramount had felt disadvantaged it could therefore
have raised an objection before filing its answering affidavit.
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The United Arab Emirates ("UAE") recently introduced its competition law: Federal Law No. 4 of 2012 ("Competition Law").
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