CompComm is victim of laptop theft

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Two laptops were stolen from the division that investigates cartel conduct.
Two laptops were stolen from the division that investigates cartel conduct.

The Competition Commission has become the latest government entity to experience theft of laptops containing sensitive information.

In a statement, the commission says: "There has been a security breach at the offices of the Competition Commission. Two laptops were stolen on Tuesday, 8 August 2017, from the division responsible for investigations into cartel conduct."

The Competition Commission is a statutory body constituted in terms of the Competition Act, No 89 of 1998.

It is empowered by the Competition Act to investigate, control and evaluate restrictive business practices, abuse of dominant positions and mergers in order to achieve equity and efficiency in the South African economy.

The commission says the matter has been reported to the South African Police Service and the case has subsequently been transferred to the Directorate for Priority Crime Investigation (the Hawks) for further investigation.

The commission has taken the necessary measures and safeguards to enhance security, the statement adds.

Some of the organisations the commission investigated for cartel conduct recently include Unilever, some meat suppliers, and fresh produce agents, among others.

According to the commission, the penalty for participation in a cartel is a fine of up to 10% of the firm's annual turnover.

In what is becoming a trend, several government institutions are falling victim to break-ins, with criminals targeting computers with sensitive information.

In March, IT equipment containing confidential information about Constitutional Court judges and officials was stolen from the office of chief justice Mogoeng Mogoeng.

More recently, the office of the National Prosecuting Authority was burgled, with two laptops belonging to prosecutors being stolen, along with hard drives. This incident occurred within weeks of a break-in at the Hawks Silverton office.

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