Federal Competition and Consumer Protection Commission

Federal Competition & Consumer Protection Commission Launches Cartel and other Anti-Competitive Conduct Investigation into Shipping and Freight forwarding Industry

Sunday, October 24, 2021

Pursuant to Sections: 1(d); 2(2)(c), 2(3)(c); 17(e), (g), (s); 18(3)(a), (c), (d), (e), (f); 59; 69; 72; 73; 107; 108; 125; 127 of the Federal Competition and Consumer Protection Act (FCCPA), 2018

Monday, October 25, 2021: On Monday, October 18th 2021, the Commission executed a judicial search warrant and order of the Federal High Court to search and gather information/evidence in furtherance of an open and active investigation of potential infringements of the Federal Competition & Consumer Protection Act 2018 (FCCPA) on five (5) companies within the shipping and freight forwarding industry.

Prior to the execution of the search warrant and order of the court, the Commission had gathered credible and actionable intelligence sufficient to establish probable cause and reasonable basis for the court to issue a warrant and enter an order permitting executives and operatives of the Commission to conduct a search of the companies named in the warrant and order. Essentially, the intelligence indicate that the five companies identified in the warrant (as well as others who were neither subject of the warrant nor targets of the search) have over a period of time, within and outside Nigeria participated in, or coordinated anti-competitive conduct that materially affect or distort the market in Nigeria, including preventing fair competition, and engendering continuing high freight rates and associated costs to, and in Nigeria.

Targets of the execution of the search warrant were largely cooperative with minimal exceptions, which exceptions included, physically and verbally assaulting officials and authorized persons of the Commission, as well as resisting, delaying, impeding or obstructing the investigatory process in violation of law. These exceptions are currently being processed for further criminal and other judicial procedures in accordance with the FCCPA and extant criminal procedure laws.

These are the early stages of the investigation, and the Commission expects it will include gathering more information from operatives of the current targets in accordance with the FCCPA, and expand to other companies in the same industry where required.

The Commission encourages persons who may have any information, and or complaints/dissatisfaction or aware of illegal/suspicious conduct with respect to services, rates or activities within the industry, including agents or employees of companies in the industry to provide same to the Commission including anonymously, or in exchange for immunity or other available protection from personal liability or responsibility for conduct in violation of law under the Federal Competition and Consumer Protection Investigative Cooperation/Assistance Rules & Procedures 2021 (available here View the FCCPC-Cooperation Assistance Rules Procedures-26022021-FApdf.pdf ). The Commission also invites other companies in the industry who may wish to take advantage of leniency provisions in the FCCPA to immediately engage before they become specific targets, and the investigation extends to their activities.

Persons wishing to provide information, or whistle-blow may send same to, or contact the Commission at shippingintel@fccpc.gov.ng.Companies interested in entering into the leniency program of the Commission may formally approach the Commission through the Surveillance & Enforcement Department of the Commission.

Babatunde Irukera

Executive Vice Chairman/Chief Executive Officer