Following the VAT monitoring by FCCC and Fiji Revenue and Customs Service, 62 traders have been in breach while investigations into 2 have been completed and charges are expected to be laid by next week.
While speaking during a press conference, FCCC CEO Joel Abraham says the rest are in the investigation phase.
He says FCCC follows the course of natural justice and they ensure they are fair to consumers as well as businesses because they have rights enshrined in the Constitution.
Abraham says they have accorded them the provisions under the rights of the accused under the Constitution as well and giving them an opportunity to provide explanations, as well as provide justification for the same increases.
The CEO says they have done 542 surveys in August and in the last financial year, 72 are under investigation and 26 are with the legal department for further action.
He says the main issues that they found was refusal to sell at maximum prices, low price marking indications, and as such they have been able to take these businesses to task.
Abraham further says as announced in the 2023-2024 national budget, fiscal duty on a few products has reduced and they have looked at the impact.
He says for instance, the price of canned mackerel has reduced by between 20 to 80 cents.
He says micro-market wide there are reductions where 49 percent of this is attributed directly to freight cost and supplier cost as well as changes in taxes.
Abraham further says it is quite critical that traders behave in an ethical manner but the FCCC will continue its investigations.
He says anyone that is caught breaching will be taken to task and because they follow a process that requires them to collect all evidence and prove a case beyond reasonable doubt in court, this is why investigation may take some time.
The CEO says they do know that there are some deficiencies in law as well and the government has been very accommodating in making some amendments to the FCCC Act and they will be proposing some quick amendments that will allow them to look at specific provisions in the Act that will deal with these matters.
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