Reward for whistle-blowers



WITHOUT doubt, fake products exist in our market. They include clothes, perfumes, watches, bags, shoes and electrical equipment and products.

Some products are not only imitations, but they also do not conform to the approved standard specifications and some of them are not good for any use.

Because of the fact that the capacity of manpower at the Ministry of Commerce and Investment, which is monitoring the markets regularly, is very limited, the ministry came up with the idea of announcing financial award for anyone reporting a case of commercial fraud. The reward is 25 percent of the value of the fine, which the court decides.

This is one of the ways the ministry has come up with to combat rampant commercial fraud.

Recently, the ministry announced an SR50,000 reward to a Saudi citizen in Al-Ahsa in the Eastern Province for reporting a case of commercial fraud at an unlicensed warehouse. The workers at the warehouse were illegal residents. They produced fake perfumes and filled them in bottles. They then packaged the bottled with labels of famous perfume brands in order to cheat consumers.

The criminal court convicted the warehouse owner of commercial fraud and slapped him with a fine of SR200,000. The Saudi citizen who reported the fraud was awarded SR50,000, which is 25 percent of the value of the fine stated in the court ruling.

Commercial fraud is an indecent act. The perpetrators use all sorts of tricks, conning and counterfeiting to achieve their illegitimate targets. Such fraud maybe associated with corruption, theft and embezzlement for personal gain.

Some examples of commercial fraud that are happening these days may not need reporting, supervisors or monitors. In some cities, there are specialized markets that are given different names such as Chinese Market or Discount Market. The name itself indicates that the cheap products that are sold in such markets are not genuine.

Some consumers may buy the fake products because their genuine alternative will cost ten times more. Some of the traders and producers give their fake products that look exactly like the genuine ones slightly different names to avoid being caught for counterfeiting.

Commercial fraud is costing the national economy more than SR40 billion annually. It is great that citizens take the initiative to report fraud cases that they see. This is our country and we need to protect it from all kinds of harm or wrong behavior. But there are some cases of commercial fraud that does not need reporting because it is visible to all. The responsible authorities need to take the initiative to deal with them in order to secure the national economy and protect the registered trademarks. This will reinforce trust and increase the buying power of the consumer while protecting the interests of the businessmen at the same time.