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The Papindo Trading Company is the first company the Independent Consumer Competition Commission(ICCC) is taking to court over its breach of price regulations under Order 8 on certain goods, during the COVID-19 State of Emergency (SoE) and lockdown periods this year.

ICCC Commissioner and Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Mr. Paulus Ain, said the Company was found to have increased prices for rice and sugar in their Goroka retail outlets more than 5% without seeking approval from ICCC to do so.

The Commission on the 18th of November, filed proceedings in the Waigani District Court against Papindo for failing to pay fines to ICCC pursuant to the SoE Order 8.

Mr. Ain assured that Papindo is the first of many other prosecutions that the ICCC will be taking up in the next two months.

The case is the outcome of the Price Surveillance exercise conducted by the ICCC during the COVID-19 SoE into businesses on the unjustified increase of prices for certain goods monitored by the ICCC.

Those businesses that breach the order were fined K5,000 for first time offenders and K10,000 for repeated offenders. Although some have paid up for breaching the order, others have not, and it is these ones the ICCC is going after.

About 246 businesses did not comply with the regulations and halve of that have not paid up their fines.

“The ICCC is now taking steps to prosecute these businesses for failing to pay their fine. Failure to pay the fine amounts to a breach of the Emergency (General provisions) (COVID-19) Act 2020,” Mr. Ain said.

November 27, 2020