The Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (CCPC) confirms that it is investigating potential bid rigging in the procurement of publicly-funded transport services in certain parts of Munster and Leinster. The CCPC opened an investigation in 2016 following a detailed examination of a complaint received in relation to the matter.
As part of this investigation, the CCPC applied to the relevant local District Courts for search warrants to gather evidence relating to the investigation at identified locations. In executing these warrants, in July 2016, the CCPC undertook 20 searches in Tipperary, Waterford, Limerick and Kilkenny. Authorised officers from the CCPC and several members of An Garda Síochána, including a Detective Sergeant from the Garda National Economic Crime Bureau, carried out the searches.
This investigation is ongoing and the CCPC encourages any individual who has evidence to come forward and contact them on a dedicated confidential helpline 086 677 2062. In addition the Cartel Immunity Programme operated by the CCPC, in conjunction with Director of Public Prosecutions, means that a member of a cartel may avoid prosecution if they are the first member to come forward, reveal their involvement in illegal cartel activity and fully co-operate with the investigation.
Isolde Goggin, Chairperson of the Competition and Consumer Protections Commission said, “Markets work best where businesses vigorously and independently compete against each other for customers. Cartels, where businesses offering the same products or services collectively agree not to compete with one another or to fix prices, cause very significant harm to competition and consumers. Bid rigging in public procurement can be particularly harmful as it can artificially increase prices and ultimately costs taxpayers more and can reduce the quality of services the State provides. The CCPC prioritises these investigations and will take action if it finds evidence suggesting that these forms of criminal offences have taken place.”
As its investigation is ongoing, the CCPC cannot provide any further comment on this matter at this time.