Consumer rights groups complained that the Consumer Affairs Authority did not conduct raids on major retailers and wholesalers and even in the cases where they conducted raids did not eventually file action in Courts.
The National Movement for Consumer Rights Protection pointed out that the Authority was also blocking the issuing of gazettes with regard to regulating cosmetics within the country.
Recently, Minister of Industry and Commerce, Rishad Bathiudeen stated that new Investigation Officers would be appointed to the existing cadre. It has been reported that in 2016, the Authority had conducted a total of 21,819 raids, filed 21,000 court cases and received Rs 90 million from the imposition of fines.
Chairman of the Movement, Ranjith Withanage said that such appointments took place on the basis of cronyism and nepotism on the part of Bathiudeen.
Allegations of racial bias, nepotism and cronyism in making appointments and conducting raids too have been levelled against Bathiudeen in this regard. Withanage however noted that the number of Investigation Officers available at present were insufficient.
He noted that it was not only consumers who should be protected from errant traders but traders who should be protected from such traders and such practices.
“The Authority should not be a money making institution. It is there in order to serve the people. Where have raids been conducted on big time bakers and supermarkets? The figures cited by the Authority are wrong. There is a discrepancy. The market should be fair. The Act also allows for the Chairperson of the Authority to pardon those found in the wrong in terms of the Act,” Withanage explained.