COMPETITION COMMISSION MAKESFIRST DECISION
The Competition Commission sat for the first time since inception as a tribunal to consider an application against a decision of the Competition Authority.
Not only was the Friday 11 January 2013 meeting a historic first but the Commission went on to deliver a landmark decision.
The Commission sat to consider an application lodged by BOMAID against a decision made by the Competition Authority to reject the proposed acquisition of shares in MRI Botswana Limited by the Botswana Medical Aid.
Bomaid, represented by attorney Sipho Ziga of Armstrongs Attorneys, argued that a Competition Authority decision is properly placed to be heard by the Competition Commission instead of a direct appeal to the High Court of Botswana.
There have been divergent interpretations of the Competition Act on whether decisions of the Competition Authority Merger are appealable to the Competition Commission like all other competition issues or not.
The decision, signed by the Chairman of the Competition Commission, Dr Zein Kebonang, reads in part, ‘’after careful consideration, the Commission determined that it does have the power to hear appeals against the decision of the Competition Authority on mergers. Consequently you are advised to file your appeal with the Commission.’’
The Competition Authority had rejected the proposed acquisition of shares in MRI by BOMAID citing public interest concerns.
‘’The Authority notes that since BOMAID is already in possession of majority shares in MRI Botswana, the shares currently held by CEDA Venture Capital Fund Limited should be sold to other citizens who are not already part of MRI Botswana.
This is meant to ensure that more citizens are economically empowered and wealth is distributed amongst other citizens.
The Authority is of the view that the parties to the transaction should seek other alternative citizen buyers to acquire the shares owned by CEDA Venture Capital Fund Limited.
Pursuant to the provision of Section 55 of the Competition Act, the Authority has rejected the proposed acquisition. ‘’ read the decision of the Competition Authority when rejecting the proposed transaction.
HEALTH BILL EXPLAINED
Preventative health services’ deputy permanent secretary, Shenaaz El-Halabi this week told a press briefing that the Public Health Bill is not intended to take away anyone’s rights, particularly those infected with HIV.
She stated that checks and balances were provided for in the bill to ensure that powers exercised by medical practitioners would be in the best interests of clients .
The rationale for making HIV/AIDS a notifiable disease was to facilitate statistical data analysis and monitoring of trends, which was necessary for better planning as well as service delivery and not to stigmatise individuals.
El-Halabi’s clarification followed assertions that the bill sought to empower medical practitioners to force clients to undergo HIV tests without their consent.
The health bill, she said, did not seek to empower medical practitioners to force clients to undergo tests. However she stated that clause 104(3) (b) of the bill provided that the director or a person authorised by him may where necessary and reasonably, require a person or a category of persons to undergo an HIV test.
She explained that clause 104(4) provided that where a person required to undergo an HIV test under clause 104(3) refuses to do so, the director might apply to a magistrate for an order requiring that person to undergo the test.
El-Halabi said it must further be noted that while a person had the right to decide whether or not to test for HIV, the exercise of that right must not infringe on the rights of others.
BUREAU DE CHANGE LOSES LICENCE
The Bank of Botswana has revoked the Kay’s Bureau de Change trading licence with immediate effect.
A release from the bank says pursuant to Section 30(1) of the Bank of Botswana Act (CAP. 55:01), read with the Bank of Botswana (Bureaux de Change) Regulations, 2004, BoB revoked with immediate effect, the licence to transact foreign exchange business issued to Kay’s Bureau de Change..
The Bureau de Change voluntarily surrendered its licence. Accordingly, the public was advised not to transact foreign exchange business with any person purporting to trade in the name of Kay’s Bureau de Change.
The statement further says “members of the public are also reminded that it is a criminal offence, under Section 30(4) of the Bank of Botswana Act (CAP. 55:01) to conduct foreign exchange business without a valid licence.