NaCC approaches High Court on Namaf matter

20 Apr 2016 20:00pm
WINDHOEK, 20 APR (NAMPA) - The Namibian Competition Commission (NaCC) intends to approach the High Court with an application to compel the Namibian Association of Medical Aid Funds (Namaf) and other medical aids from engaging in unlawful conduct.
On 17 March 2016, Acting High Court Judge Collins Parker dismissed an application by nine medical aid funds and Namaf to grant orders against the NaCC and the Namibian Private Practitioners Fund that the applicants are exempt from the provisions of the Competition Act, 2003.
The application was brought before the High Court following investigation findings by NaCC in 2014 that the applicants had fixed prices by setting benchmark tariffs in contravention of Section 23 of the Competition Commission Act.
“Following this High Court judgement on 17 March 2016, the Namibia Competition Commission intends to now file its application interdicting Namaf and other medical aid funds from engaging in unlawful conduct and to seek further appropriate redress mechanisms,” a statement issued by the NaCC on Wednesday said.
At the time, the High Court ruled that the NaCC as a statutory body has the power to administer and enforce the Competition Act of 2003 and its powers include investigating anti-competition conducts outlawed by the Act.
A NaCC investigation in 2014 established a clear infringement of the Competition Act in that Namaf and its member funds had conspired to fix prices in the form of benchmark tariffs for medical services.
The commission's investigation also found that there was a clear infringement of Section 23 of the Competition Act because Section 23 of the Act prohibits collusive behaviour or the formation of cartels, among firms.
“It is crucially important that Namibia does not fall into a price increase trap of higher medical costs on Namibians, as it will obviate consumer protection and put medical costs out of reach, especially for the poor and the middle class, ” the statement said.