YEREVAN, September 24. / ARKA /. Armenia’s anti-trust body, the State Commission for Protection of Economic Competition (SCPEC), said today it has penalized 27 companies for gross breaches of the law. SCPEC chairman Artak Shaboyan told reporters that instead of butter the companies supplied pre-school establishments with spread and margarine.
He said 575 kindergartens had been inspected throughout the country, and dozens of cases of fair competition breaches, dishonesty and fraud were found out.
"The studies revealed cases when companies signed contracts for supply of butter, but supplied spread or margarine instead, which both in quality and price are much cheaper than batter," Shaboyan said.
He said the bulk of breaches were revealed in provinces with kindergarten heads being often involved in breaches. The anti-trust body revealed also cases when food suppliers were selected without tenders in a flagrant violation of the law.
According to Shaboyan, studies revealed that the government money released for kindergartens were spent on buying coffee, basturma (spicy dried beef meat), meat and canned fish, hot peppers for the children.
"SCPEC considers unacceptable and reprehensible such conduct of business entities, especially when it comes to children. Therefore, we have decided to apply the maximum penalty amount- 1% of their annual earnings. The SCPEC will also send the results of studies to the prosecutor's office for further investigation, as well as to state agencies in charge of this areas, because the revealed cases are not just unfair competition, but gross violations of the law and embezzlement of public money, " Shaboyan said.
Shaboyan also called for specifying the list of foods which can be allowed for children in kindergarten. He said representatives of companies claimed they did not know the difference between spread and butter. -0-