The Competition Commission of Mauritius ("CCM") is temporarily extending its leniency programme to initiators/ringleaders of cartels until 31 August 2017. To this effect, the CCM has amended its Guideline on Collusive Agreements ("CCM 3").
Ordinarily, cartel initiators/ringleaders are excluded from the leniency programme and the CCM imposes an asymmetrically harsh penalty on them, in line with the absolute prohibition on cartel activities under sections 41 and 43 of the Competition Act, 2007. However, under the temporary amnesty, cartel initiators/ringleaders and any other cartel participant may benefit from total immunity or up to 100% reduction in penalties. If any cartel participant, including the initiator/ringleader, reports cartel activities in which it has participated before the launch of an investigation by the CCM, it may benefit from total immunity. If a participant in a cartel comes forward after the launch of an investigation, it may benefit from up to 100% reduction in penalties.
Although the terms "initiator" and
"ringleader" are not defined by the CCM or under the
Competition Act, the CCM is likely to consider criteria such as the
cartel participants' involvement in the leadership of the
cartel, the organisation of the agreements and the enforcement of
the agreements, as well as any coercive measures taken by a
participant to determine whether a participant has acted as an
initiator/ringleader of a cartel. This means that it may be
possible for the CCM to find that there is more than one
initiator/ringleader in respect of a particular cartel. As such, a
cartel participant may be deterred from coming forward under the
normal leniency programme out of fear of being identified as the
initiator/ringleader. By extending its leniency programme to all
cartel participants, including initiators/ringleaders, the CCM
believes that this apprehension may be reduced, thus making its
leniency programme more attractive to all participants.
Reviewed by Camille Desvaux de Marigny, an executive at ENSafrica in Mauritius.
Originally published 29 March 2017
The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.