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Artikel

13 Sep 2021

Autor*in:
BBC

Zimbabwe: BBC investigation alleges BAT bribed senior govt. officials & used unlawful surveillance to damage rivals; company comments

"British American Tobacco negotiated bribe for Mugabe, new evidence suggests"

A BBC Panorama investigation has found evidence that suggests one of Britain's biggest companies paid a bribe to the former Zimbabwean leader Robert Mugabe. Documents show British American Tobacco (BAT) was involved in negotiations to pay between $300,000 and $500,000 to Mugabe's Zanu-PF party in 2013. The documents also reveal BAT was paying bribes in South Africa and using illegal surveillance to damage rivals. BAT says it is committed to the highest standards of corporate conduct...

Most of this work was outsourced to a South African private security company called Forensic Security Services (FSS). FSS was officially tasked with fighting the black-market cigarette trade, however, former employees have told the BBC that they broke the law to sabotage BAT's rivals. Internal documents show in one operation, FSS staff were instructed to close down three cigarette factories run by BAT's competitors in Zimbabwe.FSS paid a local firm to conduct surveillance on a Savanna Tobacco factory in 2012, but the company got caught. Three of its directors were charged in connection with illegal surveillance. The arrests prompted the then president, Robert Mugabe, to make a speech condemning the men's actions and BAT's suspected involvement.