At least 16 firms have been flagged for contravening the Trade Measures Act by selling underweight goods, mainly bread and meat and mealie meal.
Seven of the cases have been referred for prosecution while the rest served with contravention notices that attract fines or warnings.
The malpractices were unearthed after random visits by the Ministry of Industry and Commerce’s Trade Measures Department inspectors, aimed at protecting consumers from corrupt traders or unchecked scales.
Trade Measures Board (TMB) chairperson Mathew Ranganai revealed that those now facing court trials over the offences were arrested in Mutare and Harare. He said:
One milling company in Harare and six other manufacturing firms and butcheries arrested in Mutare are now facing prosecution.
The other nine companies have since been served with written contravention letters which may result in the imposition of fines or warning.
If our assessment of the remaining cases points to serious acts of criminality, the companies may also end up in court.
He said all equipment for trade, like scales, must be checked and approved by the Government to ensure consumers are not shortchanged.
Ranganai, however, said that under the Act, the Ministry has no power to deal with the illegal traders on the streets without the involvement of the police.