Businesses tighten as Commission plans to embark on raids
The Federal Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (FCCPC) has said discussions are already in the offing towards carrying out dawn raids.
Dawn raid is an unannounced inspection by an investigatory authority, which causes major disruption to businesses.
It may also signal the start of protracted proceedings, potentially leading to fines, damages, actions, and, in some jurisdictions, criminal prosecutions and imprisonment for individuals and disqualification of directors.
Such actions expose businesses to the risk of significant financial and reputational damage, governmental prosecution, and subsequent private claims that can threaten the existence of the company and the liberty of its employees.
Chief Executive Officer, FCCPC, Babatunde Irukera, at the Investigations, Compliance, and Ethics (ICE) September series, 4th Edition, by Udo Udoma and Belo-Osagie Law Chambers, said the Commission, although had not embarked on dawn raid yet, there were discussions that might lead to one.
He maintained that dawn raids were low hanging fruits developed to address market behaviour.
Noting that dawn raids were inevitable, he said the Commission adopted a philosophy of first trying to remove the barriers to market entry before thinking of other tools to regulate competition.
According to him, removing barriers to market entry before entering will make the market correct itself in eliminating inappropriate behaviours to a more manageable scope.
On the approach taken so far, he said the agency had worked from an escalated regulatory standpoint such as dawn raids, adding that it was important for markets to familiarise themselves with what the new regulatory environment really is because of the new law.
Emphasising the responsibilities of targeting a dawn raid, Irukera said: “Be transparent. Ask questions where need be but do not resist. Have a team that provides sufficient support to make the work of the regulator smoother and the target of the investigation.”
At the panel session, Partner, Bowmans, Xolani Nyali, said employees must be informed about the raid, rather than them getting information from social media, adding that there should be internal publicity to keep them informed with controlled communication.
When being investigated, Senior Consultant, Evidence, CMS, Chris Baldwin, advised that it is very important to have a senior IT person outside, and stressed the need to keep accurate records of action that took place. The need to check who is authorised to be in the raid and the IT person is expected to be on the authorised list.
Partner, Udo Udoma and Belo-Osagie, Christine Sijuade, said: “When investigated and you don’t understand the question, ensure you (employee), get clarity rather than speculating or guessing around what you don’t understand in order not to further implicate yourself or rather call the right office to provide answers or wait for your lawyers to get clarity.”
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