Tribunal Settles Moti, CBM Battle


The Tribunal has given 30 days for the companies if they want to appeal




The Tribunal of Trade Competition & Consumer Protection Authority finally ruled for Moti Engineering Plc, rejecting the claims of CBM Integrates Plc. The case sojourned for two years of litigation between the two major Automated Teller Machine (ATM) Supplier companies over a claim of unfair trade competition from the latter.

The tribunal held on May 2, 2017, and presided by Kidana Tsegaye, Mekdes Mekuriya, and Biruh Gemeda, rejected the complaints from CBM regarding unfair competition from Moti which caused its removal from bids for the supply of ATMs for the Commercial Bank of Ethiopia (CBE)and Wogagen Bank S.C.

CBM took the case to the tribunal two years ago filing its claim that it had an investment and trade license specializing in system integration and data center services on top of the supply and maintenance of ATMs, but Moti was plotting against its interests, according to the suit by CBM which so far has supplied over 700 ATMs.

In its suit, CBM accused Moti of writing a letter in 2014 to the Ethiopian Investment Commission (EIC) stating that CBM did not have the license for the business it was engaged in. This brought the issuance of the letter from the EIC to the Ministry of Trade (MoT) which wrote a letter to the national bank forcing CBM out of the bidding process for the supply of ATMs to CBE and Wegagen.

According to CBM’s claim, Moti acted violating the Trade Competition and Consumers Protection Proclamation by distorting fair competition and negatively impacting its businesses, having the integrity of the company questioned by its customers. Therefore, CBM asked the court for a favourable decision of taking administrative measures and imposing fines. CBM claims for recovery of 16,500 Br it has spent to proceed with the legal suit.

Against the suit, Moti responded to the court claiming CBM Integrates was never part of any bid to supply ATMs, rather it merely did maintenance work for the machines provided by CBM Lebanon. Even when the company worked on the maintenance, it did not present any legal document, which shows CBM Lebanon represented it, according to the response of Moti, a company which has supplied 2,835 ATMs.

Additionally, Moti claimed that CBM does not have proper license to operate in Ethiopia. Therefore, Moti asked the judges to ban CBM from conducting business locally since foreign companies are not allowed to engage in maintenance work.

Following this, CBM defended the mandate saying that dealing with licenses is the jurisdiction of either the MoT, EIC or regional bureaus, not the tribunals. The Tribunal accepted CBM’s argument and dropped Moti’s claim.

After hearing the litigation of the two parties and reviewing documents from the two sides, the tribunal rejected CBM’s claim, stating that writing letters to the EIC does not intend to plot against CBM’s interests. Rather it calls for attention from the government institutions which have the jurisdiction to investigate the case.

Therefore this could not be said to be contriving against CBM’s interests as the letter was not sent to CBM’s local consumers, general consumers or other competitor companies, read the ruling.

The tribunal gave 30 days for the companies to appeal to the higher level administration tribunal if they are displeased with the judgment. But the representative of CBM claims they have not decided yet whether they will appeal or not.

On the other hand, the management of Moti is satisfied with the ruling.

“The ruling of the tribunal is just and fair,” Abdulhamid Abdisubhan, general manager of Moti, told Fortune.



By FASIKA TADESSE
FORTUNE STAFF WRITERS

Published on May 06,2017 [ Vol 17 ,No 888]


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