NMa Fines Heijmans for Refusal to Co-operate
The Netherlands Competition Authority (NMa) has imposed a fine of three times EUR 4,500 (four-thousand-five-hundred euros) on Heijmans Beton- en Waterbouw for its refusal to allow NMa to interview certain of its employees. This is the maximum fine that NMa may impose under the Competition Act for a breach of the obligation to co-operate. The NMa wished to interview these employees in relation to its investigation of the situation surrounding the tender for the North-South underground railway. The NMa suspected that they had knowledge of facts and circumstances which NMa is investigating.
The municipality of Amsterdam notified NMa of the situation surrounding the tender for the North-South underground railway after mistakenly receiving an email from Heijmans intended for the French company, Soletanche, one of Heijmans' subcontractors. NMa is expected to publish the results of the investigation into the North-South underground railway in October 2002.
Last June, NMa announced that it had drawn up a report on Heijmans for refusing to allow employees to be interviewed. Other construction companies have also refused to co-operate with NMa's investigation of certain aspects. The NMa will draw up reports on these companies in the near future.
NMa is conducting investigations into possible infringements of the Competition Act in the construction sector, partly on the basis of evidence from the 'shadow accounts' of Mr A. Bos. NMa has defined a number of specific subinvestigations. In recent months unannounced company visits took place at twenty locations with the aim of collecting possible evidence. The results of various subinvestigations will be a on announced in the coming months.