The Competition Authority of Kenya (CAK) has cracked its whip on Clean Shelf Supermarkets following an expose by Kahawa Tungu over hiking of sanitizers’ prices.
Through a press statement, the authority has indicated that through investigations, they have determined that the retail chain had unconscionably adjusted prices of Tropikal brand hand sanitizers (500m1) in contravention of the Competition Act No.12 of 2010.
This according to the CAK, is considered a wrong as it depicts taking advantage of its customers amid the Coronavirus pandemic that has since invaded the country.
“The Authority has determined that the retailer on 15, March 2020 sold the same batch of product to consumers at varying amounts above Kes. 800/=, including Kes. 1000/=, with the prices increasing within hours,” reads the statement.
It adds,” The retailer, therefore, exploited its relative strength as a retailer to commercially detriment consumers whose bargaining position has been diminished following the pronouncement of the existence of COVID-19 in Kenya.”
The Supermarket has thus been ordered to refund all its customers who purchased the tropical brand hand sanitizers following investigation that they were being sold at different prices hourly.
“The Authority has therefore ordered Cleanshelf to contact and refund ALL the consumers who purchased the 960 pieces of the Tropikal brand hand sanitizers above the usual selling price and submit evidence to support the same by 26. March 2020,” reads the statement.
Earlier, a source had confided in Kahawa Tungu where they exposed the syndicate going on in the supermarket.
In their defense, Clean Shelf Supermarket blamed one of their staff for the inflated prices of Tropikal hand sanitizers at their Ruaka Branch adding that disciplinary action had been taken against the unnamed employee.
“It has come to our attention that one of our staff members without consultation and irresponsibly severally adjusted the price of Tropikal hand sanitizers in our Ruaka Branch,” the statement on their twitter handle read in part.
The first case of COVID-19 was confirmed on Friday, March 13, 2020, by the Health CS Mutahi Kagwe.
In a statement, the CS said the patient was identified to be a woman, aged 27 who traveled from the U.S. to Nairobi through London.
Netizens especially within Nairobi started panicking and flocked into supermarkets to purchase the hand sanitizers and restock foodstuff on the fear that they would run out of stock or rather their prices would be hiked.
Kagwe, however, urged Kenyans not to panic as the victim was under isolation and in stable condition.
In a presser yesterday, President Uhuru Kenyatta confirmed two more cases of the COVID-19 and gave directives that all schools, primary, boarding and universities to be closed as well as a directive to employees to have workers work from home for 30 days until the virus is contained.
Uhuru also announced the suspension of travel from countries that have reported cases of COVID-19 with only Kenyan citizens being allowed into the country provided they observe self-quarantine directive or visit a government facility for a check-up. The self-quarantine measures will be in force for 30 days.
“In order to avoid the risk of transmission through physical handling of money we encourage the use of cashless transactions such as Mobile Money such as M-Pesa and credit cards. We appeal to mobile operators and banks to take note of the situation that we are in and reduce the cost of transactions during this period, ” the President said.
Kenya joins the list of more than 10 African countries to have confirmed the positive cases of the COVID-19, including Ivory Coast, Nigeria, Senegal, Cameroon, Togo, South Africa, Burkina Faso, Democratic Republic of Congo, Gabon, Mauritius, Ethiopia, Rwanda and Ghana.