Home » Jack Bowles’ British American Tobacco roped into bribery scandal involving Mugabe

Jack Bowles’ British American Tobacco roped into bribery scandal involving Mugabe

by Ishioma Emi

A recent investigation has implicated British American Tobacco Plc (BAT) in a 2013 bribery scheme involving Zimbabwe’s ruling ZANU-PF party during the administration of former President Robert Mugabe.

One of Africa’s most corrupt dictators who ruled Zimbabwe with an iron fist for 37 years after it gained independence in 1980, Mugabe was removed from power in 2017 and later died in 2019.

Recent documents revealed that the cigarette maker was involved in negotiations to pay between $300,000 and $500,000 to ZANU-PF in 2013, while also paying bribes in South Africa and using illegal surveillance to sabotage competitors, BBC reported.

The discovery was made by a joint investigation conducted by BBC Panorama, the Bureau of Investigative Journalism and the University of Bath, Panorama (United Kingdom).

According to the BBC, BAT funded a network of almost 200 secret informants in Southern Africa through Forensic Security Services, the state agency responsible for fighting the black-market cigarette trade. 

British American Tobacco

Founded in 1902, BAT is a London-based multinational company that manufactures and sells cigarettes, tobacco and other nicotine products to international customers. 

Jack Bowles took office as the company’s CEO in 2019. 

In terms of sales, the company is regarded as the largest tobacco company globally. As of 2020, the company recorded a $25.78-billion revenue.

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