JOHANNESBURG - The Competition Commission wants more power to prosecute foreign companies whose irregular actions violate South Africans rights.
In a preliminary court hearing, the commission sought to impose fines on more than a dozen local and foreign banks for allegedly rigging the rand.
The Competition Commission began investigating a case of rand exchange rate manipulation in 2015.
It found that beginning in 2007, several banks had a general agreement to collude on prices for bids, offers and bid-offer spreads in currency trading involving the US dollar and the rand.
Huge fines were imposed on some banks by the Competition Commission following that investigation but the Competition Tribunal has been unable to impose fines on offending foreign banks because of a lack of jurisdiction.
“We prosecuted the banks before a tribunal, then foreign banks came and said we are not present in South Africa, the conduct also didn’t occur here, it occurred only in New York which is a foreign jurisdiction, you can’t touch us,” said Competition Commissioner Tembinkosi Bonakele.
“The tribunal said that the commission can pursue them but cannot get a fine from them, it can only get a declaratory order.