“Unlawful Bribes?”: A documentary analysis showing British American Tobacco’s use of payments to secure policy and competitive advantage in Africa

Rachel Rose Jackson, Andrew Rowell, Anna Gilmore

Research output: Book/ReportOther report

Abstract

Progress in tobacco control in Africa has been slower than anticipated and there is little research on tobacco industry conduct in that region. This paper addresses this research gap using documents provided through a whistle-blower and a Ugandan High Court case to examine the activities of the world's second largest transnational tobacco company and the dominant tobacco company in Africa, British American Tobacco (BAT). The United Kingdom(UK)Serious Fraud Office (SFO) recently considered a similar set of documents as part of its investigation into allegations of bribery by BAT. After five years of deliberation, it determined that “the evidence did not meet the evidential test for prosecution as defined in the Code for Crown Prosecutors”. The company remains under investigation in other jurisdictions, including Kenya.[1]In this paper, we take a public health perspective examining the scale, nature, purpose and targets of BAT's payments in Africa and explore the implications of these findings for tobacco control. In examining the nature of the payments, we code the extent to which they might be considered as meeting the United Kingdom Bribery Act (UKBA) definition of bribery and examine the extent to which they raise questions under the UKBA which may remain unanswered, or merit further investigation. We do not examine the extent to which these activities, or the evidence examined, meet the criteria for prosecution under the UKBA.
Original languageEnglish
PublisherUCSF: Center for Tobacco Control Research and Education
Publication statusPublished - Sep 2021

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