Certain traders to face criminal charges

Fijian Competition and Consumer Commission chief executive officer Joel Abraham (eft) conducts an inspection on the field as part of a joint taskforce clamping down unscrupulous traders and businesses. Picture: SUPPLIED

SEVERAL unscrupulous traders in Western Division are likely to soon face criminal charges relating to the Homes-Care and Farms-Care initiatives.

This is after the Fijian Competition and Consumer Commission have identified certain traders who were contravening the provisions of the FCCC Act 2010.

According to FCCC chief executive officer, investigations had commenced in the Western Division regarding issues pertaining to the two CARE initiatives.

“The team will be on the field throughout the weekend,” Mr Abraham said in a statement.

“During the course of the investigations, certain traders have been identified to be contravening.

“This includes unconscionable conduct, false and misleading representation and special investigators have been engaged to prepare and file charges in the courts.”

Mr Abraham said their team had also visited 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.

“The preliminary findings of the team include traders taking advantage of the initiatives by hiking prices of items to be sold under the initiative, traders accepting payments and asking for the items to be delivered at a later date giving delivery time of up to six weeks whereas the normal delivery time would have been around one week,” he said.

“This is contrary to their agreement with the Ministry of Economy, as payments should be received if stocks are available.

“Also, some traders are providing false information to the CARE programme recipients that if the funds in the cards are not utilised by a certain date, government will take the money back.”

Mr Abraham has also advised recipients of the CARE programs to not swipe their cards if the items were not in stock.

“The Homes- Care initiative will be on-going till July 31, hence consumers should not rush and make payments in advance,” he said.

Similar activity will be undertaken in the Northern Division from next week.

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