Sep 20, 2021

Mawazo Writing Africa

Writing about the main

British American Tobacco under fire for ‘sabotaging’ SA and Zim rivals

Bribes, Lies and Spies.

These are some of the shocking claims made in a report by the Bureau of Investigative Journalism about how British American Tobacco (BAT) allegedly paid bribes – including former Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe – and used illegal surveillance to “sabotage” his rivals in South Africa and Zim.

The report released Monday in a joint investigation by the Bureau of Investigative Journalism, BBC Panorama and the University of Bath. revealed how BAT has been implicated in a conspiracy to bribe Mugabe between $ 300,000 and $ 500,000 (R4.2-7.1 million) to get certain people out of prison.

The report alleged that thousands of people leaked documents obtained from BBC Panorama showing how BAT funded a network of nearly 200 classified informants in southern Africa.

The leaked documents indicate this that there was discussion of paying bribes to Mugabe’s political party Zanu-PF.

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It further revealed how BAT allegedly paid bribes to South African private security company Forensic Security Services (FSS) paid to conduct a secret operation to obstruct rival tobacco companies in Zimbabwe.

FSS allegedly received most of BAT’s outsourced work in SA to illegally spy on its tobacco competitors by tapping into competitors’ telephones, attaching tracking devices to their delivery vehicles and bribing employees. to pass on information.

When asked for a comment, Stephen Both. of FSS a said he was “not interested” before hanging up.

BAT did not dispute the proposed payment to Mugabe when asked by investigative reporters.

< The company said: "Our anti-trafficking efforts are aimed at helping law enforcement agencies fight the criminal trafficking of tobacco products. In 2016, BAT announced that it was investigating allegations of misconduct and investigating UK Serious Fraud Office (SFO). BAT fully cooperated with the subsequent SFO investigation, which also included allegations related to SA. " unlawful to pay sources to collect information about criminal behavior.

“We strongly reject the misrepresentation of our behavior … Our efforts to combat illegal trafficking ls aimed to help law enforcement agencies fight the criminal trafficking in tobacco products, “the company said.

” Acting responsibly and with integrity underpins our culture. “

This is not the first time BAT has been accused of bribery. In 2015, Panorama discovered that the company had secretly paid politicians and officials in East African countries to undermine anti-smoking policies.

BAT reportedly buys 90%. of all tobacco grown in SA.