Government withdraw charges against businesses over high price (20-07-07)

THE government has been forced to withdraw charges against businesses it had dragged to court for defying its order to rollback prices after it emerged that they were charged before the prices became law.

Companies which were first brought to court at the incep

tion of the blitz being charged under the statutory Instrument 142 of 2007 had charges against them withdrawn yesterday after plea as it emerged that they were charged prior to date when the instrument became law.

This came out at the appearance yesterday before Bulawayo Magistrate Loveness Chipateni of some companies and directors that had been dragged to court on charges of failing to comply with a government directive on price cuts

According to Chipateni, the task force pounced on the companies and their directors after the Minister of Industry and International Trade, Obert Mpofu, announced the slashing of the prices but before it had become law on 6 July.

The government has dragged companies and their directors to court on various allegations of failing to comply with a directive to reduce prices to those obtaining before 16 June. The government says it will arrest inflation through the operation.

Meanwhile, the United States government has hit out at the government crackdown on businesses to rollback their prices saying the operation has further eroded human and economic liberty in the country.

The government-which blames businesses of conniving with its western enemies to create a crisis in a bid to incite Zimbabweans to revolt-, has reacted to price increases by announcing a blanket freeze on prices.

Price inspectors and police have raided stores, warehouses and gas stations to enforce the government price slashes order and the falling prices have caused looting, stampedes and panic buying and near-riots by impoverished Zimbabweans.

In a statement by Tony Snow, spokesperson of President George Bush, US said it deplored “actions taken by the Mugabe regime that have further eroded human and economic liberty in Zimbabwe.”
The US said the crackdown will “economic policies will only worsen inflation, unemployment, growing food shortages, and poverty.

“The regime’s reckless attempts to address self-imposed hyperinflation have resulted in the arrest of at least 2,000 businesspeople, widespread hoarding and profiteering by police and government officials, and shortage of basic staples. ” -CAJ News.

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