Douala- Cameroon (PANA) -- Cameroonian traders, including managers of petrol stations, are in a state of panic since the ministry of finance started checking the authenticity of weighing and measurement instruments more than a month ago.
According to the ministry's experts, a majority of traders use manipulated scales to cheat consumers.
Two such fraudulent traders were caught red-handed and fined 300,000 FCFA (about 428.
6 US dollars) for their offence.
One of these was a trader at the Douala central market, whose scales and weighing machines were visibly tampered with.
For a kilo of rice paid for, the customer will only take away 700 grammes and only 300 grammes for half a kilo of rice.
According to this trader in Douala, most of his colleagues in Cameroon's business capital had adhered to the rules since the ministry of finance sent its inspectors.
"Traders are now aware of their wrongdoing as a result of the fines they had to pay.
Some had to pay up to 500,000 FCFA so they no longer violate the rules and regulations," he said, adding that inspectors from the finance ministry and bureau of standards had confiscated some of the faulty instruments.
The inspectors also targeted petrol stations where fraudulent prices were being charged for lubricants and other motor vehicle products.
Some petrol stations had to pay fines of up to 600,000 FCFA for their offences.
An inspector from the ministry of finance said that most petrol stations were charging the set prices but supplying less fuel and waste oils to their clients.
However, traders at the Mboppi wholesale market in Douala claimed that some of the inspectors were bribed and avoided fining those caught red-handed.
Many consumers have welcomed the inspection and suggested these should be done more regularly.
Jeannette, a housewife in Douala proposed that weighing and measuring tools be controlled every month so as to protect consumers.