10 Nov 2010

Shopkeepers threatened with fines, imprisonment

5:45 pm on 10 November 2010

Fiji's Commerce Commission is threatening shopkeepers with jail if they refuse to stock certain items or charge more than the recommended price.

The commission says police and military officers will check supermarkets on Saturday to ensure they comply with last week's order to lower the prices of about 20 commodities.

Several shops have so far defied the instructions, with some refusing to stock items such as powdered milk and lamb chops because they would have had to sell them at a loss.

Commission chairman Mahendra Reddy says shopkeepers charging more than the recommended retail price will face on-the-spot fines of US$1600 (NZ$2000).

He says supermarkets found to be holding back stock and not putting it on the shelves are liable to fines of up to US$14,000 and imprisonment.