The Overlooked Role of Western Multinationals in African Corruption

The Overlooked Role of Western Multinationals in African Corruption
A logo for British American Tobacco on a trading post on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange, July 24, 2017 (AP photo by Richard Drew).

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British American Tobacco, one of the United Kingdom’s largest companies, has been accused of paying bribes to the notoriously corrupt former president of Zimbabwe, Robert Mugabe. The allegations come amid a number of other reports of Western multinational corporations allegedly engaging in questionable conduct on the African continent. 

A joint investigation released earlier this week by the Bureau of Investigative Journalism, BBC Panorama and the University of Bath found that BAT, the world’s largest tobacco company by net sales, was involved in a conspiracy to pay between $300,000 and $500,000 to the late Zimbabwean leader shortly before his 2013 reelection. The payments were facilitated to secure the release of private security contractors who had been jailed in Zimbabwe while conducting operations in the country to hamper BAT’s corporate rivals there. 

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