The Competition Commission of Pakistan (CCP) Chairperson, Rahat Kunain, is reportedly facing accusations of conflict of interest, as she was not allowed to take part in proceedings against Foodpanda, Business Recorder reported on Monday.
The news report added that last week, the Commission’s members held an internal meeting to verify the credibility of a formal complaint filed against her by the All Pakistan Restaurant Association (APRA).
APRA wrote a letter to the Chairperson on July 1, 2021, saying that it recently filed a formal complaint against R-SC Interest Services Private Limited (Foodpanda Pakistan) for anti-competitive business practices in violation of Section 3 and 4 of the Competition Act, 2010, which is pending before the CCP.
The letter further said that APRA has come to know that Foodpanda has an active attorney-client relationship with a law firm named Kaunain Nafees (HKN). Considering that the chairperson was a partner of HKN until she was appointed CCP chairperson in July 2020 and considering that her husband still holds the position of a senior partner at HKN, the association deems it to be a conflict of interest.
The association said that despite HKN being counsels for Foodpanda, the chairperson is actively involved in overseeing proceedings. She has also not disclosed her conflict of interest during the meetings or otherwise, nor has she made any attempt to recuse and distance herself from the proceedings, the letter said.
Section 25 of the Competition act 2010 comprehensively deals with disclosure of interest by the Members of the Commission, including the chairperson, and therefore it was the responsibility of other members of the Commission to ensure that the affairs of the Commission are being run transparently to save the reputation of the Commission as an institution.
As a result, the CCP members held an internal meeting last week to discuss the matter and conduct of the chairperson.
It had also issued a press release informing that it has started an investigation against Foodpanda on the complaint of APRA.
In response to questions regarding the complaints against the chairperson, the Commission told the media, that “All accusations are false and baseless and have been denied by the Chairperson in her statement in relation to the conflict of interest issue,” the newspaper report added.