FCCC probes shady deals; Taskforce calls in support team

FCCC chief executive officer Joel Abraham (right). Picture: FT FILE

THE Fijian Competition and Consumer Commission (FCCC) has begun investigating traders in the Western Division for possible unscrupulous practices relating to the HOMES-CARE and FARMS-CARE assistance programs. In a statement, commissioner chief executive officer Joel Abraham said the team would be out on the field this weekend. “During the course of the investigations, certain traders have been identified to be contravening provisions of the FCCC Act 2010,” he said. “This includes unconscionable conduct, false and misleading representation and special investigators have been engaged to prepare and file charges in the courts. “The team is also visiting communities in order to speak with the people who have been purchasing items under the HOMES-CARE and FARMS-CARE initiatives and the issues which they have been facing.” He says 15 more personnel will be added to the taskforce to help investigations. Some of the preliminary findings of the team include traders taking advantage of the initiatives by increasing prices of items to be sold. Mr Abraham said traders were also found to accept payments and ask for the items to be delivered at a later date, extending the delivery time to six weeks compared with the usual one week. “Also, some traders are providing false information to the CARE (for Fiji) program recipients that if the funds in the cards are not utilised by a certain date, Government will take the money back. “With the information at hand, it is likely that some traders engaged under the HOMES-CARE and FARMS-CARE initiatives will be charged for possible breaches under the FCCC Act 2010.”