To: Director, Serious Fraud Office, U.K., Kenya Director of Public Prosecutions, Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC), Uganda Inspector General of Government (IGG), Ministry of Justice of Rwanda, Ministry of Justice of Burundi, Minis...
Make British American Tobacco Pay
British American Tobacco has been implicated in conducting illegal activities in Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi, and Comoros. A documentary by the BBC revealed that BAT engaged in corporate espionage and bribed politicians and policymakers in the name of buying political influence and undermining tobacco control policies.
We believe global corporations should not be able to act with such impunity and disregard for people’s lives. We are deeply concerned about the devastating health effects of tobacco throughout the supply chain, and we support democracy across Africa. For these reasons, we demand full and public inquiries into BAT’s activities. And we stand with public officials and people in the United Kingdom, Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi, Comoros, and the United States to make BAT pay.
Why is this important?
BAT has conspired to sabotage lifesaving laws that threaten its billions of dollars in profits. In a documentary aired by the BBC on November 30, a whistleblower at BAT described how the corporation funded illegal corporate espionage, and how it bribed politicians and policymakers in countries like Rwanda, Kenya, and Uganda.
Shockingly, evidence suggests some of these illicit activities were even sanctioned and authorized by a regional BAT executive.
But the worldwide outrage stirred by this documentary can be a catalyst to curb BAT’s abuses in a big way. The global tobacco treaty gives governments the backing of international law to hold tobacco corporations accountable for just this kind of illicit activity. And governments including the U.K., Kenya, and Uganda have anti-corruption laws that prohibit this kind of bribery outright.
This also has implications in the United States. BAT, one of the largest publicly traded tobacco corporations in the world, owns 42 percent of Reynolds American, Inc., a major U.S. tobacco corporation whose subsidiaries distribute BAT’s deadly brands like Lucky Strike and Pall Mall. The U.S. also has anti-corruption laws that protect against foreign bribery by corporations traded on the New York Stock Exchange.
Will you join people around the world to demand that BAT pay for sabotaging lifesaving laws?
Corporate Accountability International
International Labor Rights Forum
Rainforest Action Network
Action on Smoking and Health, US
Americans for Nonsmokers' Rights
Framework Convention Alliance
Southeast Asia Tobacco Control Alliance