*We emphatically reject mischaracterisation of our anti-illicit trade activity, BAT reacts
The African Tobacco Control Alliance, ATCA, has said analyses of documents and court records exposed British American Tobacco Plc, BAT, as displaying contempt for African laws, business and trade and the health and well-being of Africans.
Akinbode Oluwafemi, Chairman of ATCA, said this following the reports by the Tobacco Control Research Group at the University of Bath published by STOP, a global tobacco industry watchdog, which suggests that BAT allegedly used unethical means to tighten its already crushing market grip on Africa.
The rights group said in several East and Central African countries, and South Africa, BAT appeared to be operating as if it were above the law.
It said BAT bought influence and advantage; worked with state agencies, while allegedly complicit in smuggling.
However, in a swift reaction, BAT told Vanguard it rejects the “mischaracterisation of our conduct by some media outlets”.
Contacted via email, BAT directed Vanguard, through a link, to its site where it stated its stand on the reports.
The reply was signed by one Anna, who asked that the reaction be attributed to “a BAT spokesperson (no name)”.
Followed, the link led to BAT’s statement where it said, among other things, that allegations of this nature were not new.
It added that they had been covered extensively in various news media over several years and suggested that attention should, instead, be shift to collectively tackling criminal illicit cigarette trade.
“BAT fully cooperated with a UK SFO investigation, and in January 2021 the SFO announced that, ‘following extensive investigation and a comprehensive review of the available evidence’, it had closed its investigation into BAT, its subsidiaries and associated persons, without charge.