Inspection of PBA office: CCP explains action
The Competition Commission of Pakistan (CCP), in exercise of its powers under Section 34 of the Competition Act, 2010, yesterday, carried out an inspection of the premises of Pakistan Broadcasters Association (PBA) located in Karachi.
CCP decided to conduct the inspection after evaluating prima facie documentary evidence, including rules and regulations of PBA, suggesting that PBA may be in violation of Section 4 of the Competition Act by taking commercial decisions – such as setting the commission rates for advertising agencies and operating a central payment clearance system on behalf of its members – that may affect competition in the advertising industry. Section 4 of the Competition Act prohibits decisions by an association of undertakings that may prevent, restrict, or reduce competition in the relevant market.
The authorized officers of CCP conducted the inspection after fulfilling all legal formalities and with the complete cooperation of PBA officials. On arrival at PBA premises, the PBA officials were provided with a copy of the authorization and the reasons for conducting the inspection. The premises were then inspected in the presence of PBA officials and an inventory list of the impounded record was provided to them. An opportunity was also given to PBA officials to make copies of urgently required documents. It is pertinent to mention that the inspection was carried out in a cooperative environment under Section 34 of the Competition Act instead of Section 35 which envisions use of force to enter and search premises.
The inspection follows the initiation of a formal inquiry into the matter by CCP under Section 37 of the Competition Act. The inspection will serve as a fact finding exercise to determine whether there is any substance in the prima facie allegations. In accordance with the established CCP procedures and to ensure complete transparency, PBA will be afforded an opportunity to present their views and to assist the inquiry before any conclusion is reached in light of the available evidence.
Such conduct required investigation in detail therefore inspection was deemed necessary under Section 34 of the Competition Act, 2010 as a fact-finding mission to ascertain and verify the facts. Consistent with CCP practice and the law, due opportunity to all concerned shall be provided as the matter proceeds further in accordance with law.