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3 firms may have infringed Competition Act for Wildlife Reserves Singapore jobs

THE Competition and Consumer Commission of Singapore (CCCS) has issued a proposed infringement decision (PID) against three firms, for exchanging bid information and coordinating their bids for tenders and quotations called by Wildlife Reserves Singapore (WRS), giving them five weeks to make representations on the issue.

The companies are Shin Yong Construction, Geoscapes and Hong Power Engineering.

The competition watchdog is proposing that these companies have infringed section 34 of the Competition Act, by participating in anti-competitive agreements to rig the bids for the provision of building, construction and maintenance services called by WRS.

The PID, issued on Tuesday, sets out the facts which the commission has taken into account and its reasons for arriving at this proposed decision. It is meant to help the parties make representations and provide any supporting information for the panel's consideration. They have five weeks to do so, after which the panel will make its decision.

In April 2016, following a complaint from WRS, the commission commenced its investigations into allegations of bid rigging for civil and electrical works for Jurong Bird Park, Night Safari, Singapore Zoo and River Safari.

It was revealed that the parties had exchanged bid information and coordinated their bids for tenders and quotations called by WRS, in order to create a false impression that independent competitive bids were submitted during the tender processes when they were not. The bid rigging arrangements took place from at least July 1, 2015 to Oct 6, 2016, according to the commission.

The parties, as well as those who have applied for lenient treatment under CCCS's leniency programme, also have five weeks to make any representations to the panel, after which the panel will make its decision.

According to the commission, the programme affords lenient treatment to businesses that are part of a cartel agreement or concerted practice if they voluntarily provide the commission with information on their cartel activities.

It added that due to the secret nature of cartels, an incentive for cartel participants to come forward to inform CCCS of the cartel’s activities can be a more effective enforcement tool than simply imposing financial penalties.