Commission lays charges against Adcock executive

The Competition Commission on Wednesday laid perjury charges against the managing executive of Adcock Ingram Critical Care (AICC) at the Sunnyside police station in Pretoria.

In a statement, the commission said it had laid charges against Arthur Barnett for allegedly “committing the common law crime of perjury”.

He allegedly “knowingly” provided false information to the commission while under oath.

The commission had received information regarding alleged collusive tendering and the division of the private hospital market by AICC, Fresenius Kabi South Africa, Dismed and Thusanong in the healthcare sector.

The commission said after its investigations it found out that AICC and its competitors had “tendered collusively” and that one competitor had agreed to divide the private hospital market.

Collusive tendering occurs when companies agree to divide a tender between them, setting prices so as to ensure that they each win an agreed share of the tender’s value.

It was alleged that Barnett had either directly instigated or taken part in meetings and telephone discussions between AICC and its competitors involving price fixing.

When the commission summoned Barnett for questioning, he denied any knowledge of or involvement in meetings or telephone discussions with AICC’s competitors on pricing fixing.

The investigation revealed that Barnett had allegedly attended meetings and conducted telephone conversations in which he and AICC competitors agreed to tender collusively.

AICC has admitted to contravening the Competition Act.

The matter is expected to be heard by the Competition Tribunal on May 30.

The commission said Barnett’s behaviour was offensive.

“Barnett’s offence is particularly egregious because he was untruthful under oath, having been given several opportunities to answer truthfully. His actions sought to undermine the commission as an investigative body,” it said.

Tiger Brands spokesperson Jimmy Manyi said: “It’s matter between Barnett and the Competition Commission and I cannot comment any further.”—Sapa

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