CPA and Hemaya Universal sign MoU

JEDDAH -The Consumer Protection Association (CPA) of Saudi Arabia has signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with Hemaya Universal Company, a company that specialises in combating fraud and piracy.

By (From our correspondent)

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Published: Fri 25 Jul 2008, 11:30 PM

Last updated: Sun 5 Apr 2015, 12:56 PM

Mohammed Al Hamad, president of CPA and Ahmad Al Zubaidi, CEO of Hemaya Universal Company, attended the signing ceremony, which was held in Riyadh recently.

With this agreement, the CPA has become a strategic partner of the First Arab Consumer and Brand Protection Forum, which is to be held at the Jeddah Hilton Hotel on October 12.

The forum, which is supported by Governor of Makkah Province Prince Khalid Al Faisal, is being organised by the Arab League and the Islamic Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ICCI) in association with Hemaya Universal.

Al Hamad said that CPA and Hemaya Universal aim to form a partnership that would work toward protecting consumers and Saudi society through awareness programmes and periodical publications. The CPA would also support the forum with programmes and lectures, and evaluate the event’s suggested keynotes.

Al Hamad explained that the Arab World is looked upon as a region where little is known and understood about the full extent of the problem of piracy and is not aware how best to respond to it with effective strategies, actions and solutions.

Al Zubaidi said that commercial fraud has become such a widely spread global phenomenon, that it deserves concerted attention and action.

He added that in 2001, the volume of commercial fraud and piracy worldwide was estimated to be around $360 billion annually; the growth of this phenomenon has accelerated where studies have shown that the volume of commercial fraud increased in the last 4 years to reach $780 billion by the end of 2005.

According to a report in the Arabic daily Al-Riyadh some time ago, commercial fraud is a serious problem in the Kingdom and it is becoming increasingly common. Many businesses do not hesitate to sell spoiled food or other products beyond their expiry date in order to make a few riyals profit. Their last concern is the health of consumers.

Members of the public have criticised the way the ministry of commerce deals with businessmen guilty of commercial fraud. The businessmen are not named and exposed in public. People also criticise the light punishment often imposed on these businessmen, which is not usually more than closing the shop for a week and paying a fine of SR5,000.

Many believe that the anti-fraud department in the ministry of commerce is doing its best. Others believe that it targets only some businessmen and ignores others. They ask why the ministry does not announce names. They say that the names of offenders should be announced in the media and their faces shown on TV. People believe that this would be a much greater deterrent than the light punishments meted out at present.

Newspapers often carry stories of out-of-date products and spoiled food being seized by the ministry before they are on the market. The ministry destroys what it seizes but large quantities still manage to find their way onto the market. The danger is great when the products include food and medicine.

Many Saudis say that merely announcing the seizure of products is not enough. The offenders should be named and publicly shamed. Because the present punishment is so light, some businessmen are not deterred from committing offences.

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