December 29, 2019,
The Company that is known the world over for not shying away from dishing out bribes in order to further their business interests and influence policy at any cost has once again struck. Just this past August Britain opened a formal investigation into suspicions of corruption at British American Tobacco (BAT) (BATS.L) and its subsidiaries, nearly two years after allegations of bribery in Africa first surfaced.
“The SFO confirms it is investigating suspicions of corruption in the conduct of business by BAT plc, its subsidiaries, and associated persons,” Britain’s Serious Fraud Office (SFO) said in a statement.
The maker of brands including Dunhill and Lucky Strike said in February last year it had appointed a law firm to investigate allegations of historic misconduct in Africa and that it was liaising with the SFO. The 2016 move came after a November 2015 BBC program described cases of BAT employees bribing officials in East African countries including Rwanda and Burundi in an effort to undermine anti-smoking laws. The BBC cited internal documents provided by whistleblowing former employee Paul Hopkins.
Given that shisha was banned in Rwanda and now Kenya this raises serious questions of the motivation of these bans and indeed it seems BAT is using shisha as a scapegoat to derail the worldwide campaign to curb cigarette smoking
Reliable firsthand information from several Kenyan members of parliament is that millions of shillings passed hands so as to get the ban executed. One wonders whether this disclosure is motivated by honesty or was they simply shortchanged in the transaction. It’s been noted that a certain noisy MP with a leadership role in the house who recently had marital woes has been at the forefront in pushing for the ban and supporting it. He has roped in many into the scheme with the smarter ones receiving millions all the while others who simply do his bidding have been pushing for it ignorantly.
1.4 million shillings was paid to leading social media influencers with the whole online campaign being run by a blogger who is very close to loud-mouthed mouthed politician and whom its said runs his social media accounts, to support the ban and in this realm again some are busy being misused as some of their compatriots run to the bank or shall we say MPESA outlet to withdraw their winnings.
A company known for corruption the world over has found a pliant legislative body and executive with which they are so willing to do their business with. The irony that is lost on may is that while cigarettes kill the tobacco giant has been vilifying shisha as if when shisha is banned cigarettes will magically stop killing people.
If the ban is to have any meaningful impact the cigarettes smoking should also be banned just like shisha or else we are just playing a game of musical chairs whilst corrupt money does the rounds making fools of Kenyans of all cadres.ruption must stop