BAT: Probe into claims of using officials to eliminate competition still ongoing

Small tobacco producers have accused BAT of corporate espionage and feeding officials false information about them.

Picture: batsa.co.za

JOHANNESBURG - British American Tobacco (BAT) says its independent investigations into claims that it has law enforcement agents on its payroll to eliminate competition in South Africa are still ongoing and the matter has made no preliminary findings yet.

BAT South Africa presented its economic impact assessment report on Tuesday where it declared that it contributes just over R18 billion to the country’s gross domestic product.

It has been claimed that the multi-national corporation bribes Sars, State Security Agency and police officials to target competition and eliminate it from the market.

These activities are detailed in an affidavit prepared by the Fair-Trade Independent Tobacco Association which represents small tobacco producers.

BAT says they have not been able to calculate how much money they will lose after suspending illicit trade investigations which are alleged to amount to espionage.

Small tobacco producers have accused BAT of corporate espionage and feeding officials, who are allegedly on its payroll, false information about their businesses which results in endless unlawful raids on their properties.

They say this strategy is aimed at eliminating them from the market.

(Edited by Winnie Theletsane)