According to an investigation, one of the UK’s largest tobacco companies is said to have proposed a huge bribe to former Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe before his last election in 2013.
A joint investigation by the Bureau of Investigative Journalism, BBC Panorama and the University of Bath found that British American Tobacco (BAT) paid between $ 300,000 and $ 500,000 to the late Mugabe’s Zanu PF party could.
The alleged bribe, offered by a third party, was intended to release certain individuals caught spying for BAT in Zimbabwe.
BAT is one of the dominant companies in Zimbabwe’s tobacco industry and the deal was reportedly part of an effort to cripple its rivals in the South African country.
Leaked documents show that BAT at the time was paying FSS, a South African private security company, to fight against its rival in Zimbabwe.
FSS agents were accused of doing the spy on Zimbabwean company Savanna Tobacco, owned by Adam Molai, husband of Mugabe’s niece Sandra Mugabe, forcing the South African company to sign a local company to continue their dirty work.
By 2012, three directors of the local company were caught and charged with conspiracy to robbery.
Allegedly, with the knowledge of BAT, a plan was hatched to pay bribes to buy directors’ freedom and protect the conglomerate’s image.
The man who made the deal Mediated said the journalists investigating the scandal that he was a chain Zimbabwean government officials paid to secure meetings.
“I had to make it clear that you would expect a thick envelope,” said the man.
“I would give a lump sum as an operational budget and from that I would always give the headmasters a handshake and a nice touch of cash just to warm them up to the idea.“
One of the documents states that a then top director of the dreaded CIA in Zimbabwe told FSS boss Stephen Botha that “with the upcoming elections” a donation to Zanu PF paves the way for would pave the way for negotiations to continue.
The directors were released in January 2013 and their charges were officially withdrawn in March.
Mugabe, who was in a coalition government with then-opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai, won the July 2013 election under controversial circumstances.
The elections were the last for the Zimbabwean dictator, who was overthrown in a coup in November 2017.
” (Mr.) Robert Mugabe killed 30,000 Zimbabweans in genocide, “the whistleblower is quoted as saying.
” Absolutely beaten, destroyed, the soul of a nation out splashed himself out.
“How would you even consider doing business there, and why would you, for ethical reasons, prefer to step back and make a statement about it?”
The Bureau of Investigative Journalism, BBC Panorama and the University of Bath said BAT did not dispute the proposed payment to Mr Mugabe and Zanu PF.
“Our efforts in combating illicit trafficking were aimed at Stra “To help law enforcement agencies fight the criminal trafficking of tobacco products,” BAT was quoted as saying.
“In 2016, BAT announced that it was investigating allegations of misconduct and investigating UK Serious Fraud Office (SFO).
“BAT fully cooperated with the SFO’s subsequent investigation, including charges against South Africa.”
In January of this year, the SFO concluded that there was insufficient evidence to support a charge.
Mr. Mugabe and several Zanu PF leaders and security chiefs have been subject to European Union sanctions for alleged human rights violations and election fraud since the turn of the millennium.