FG Fines British-American Tobacco $110m

The British American Tobacco Nigeria Limited (BATN) and affiliated companies will pay a $110 million penalty over multiple infractions, the Federal Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (FCCPC) said on Wednesday.

According to a statement, the affiliated companies that contravened the laws include British American Tobacco Marketing (Nigeria) Limited (BATMN), British American Tobacco Plc, and British American Tobacco (Holdings) Limited.

This followed an investigation initiated on 28 August 2020, after the commission obtained a court-issued order and warrant of search and seizure.

Substantial evidence, including forensic analysis and testimonies, revealed several violations and BAT parties cooperated under the commission’s Cooperation/Assistance Rules & Procedure, 2021, the FCCPC said.

“The Commission gathered, received, and procured substantial evidence from forensic analysis of electronic communications and other information/data obtained during the search, as well as other evidence procured during, and after the search from other legitimate sources.

“Additional investigation, including proffers, hearings, transcripts of sworn testimonies, and continuing analysis of evidence established and supported multiple violations of the FCCPA and other enactments.

“During the investigation and in furtherance of mutual engagements between the Commission and BAT Parties, BAT Parties in writing sought, and the Commission accepted BAT Parties into cooperation under the Commission’s Cooperation/Assistance Rules & Procedure, 2021 (CARP).

“The Cooperation/Assistance Framework (CAF) provides for benefits such as possible reduced monetary penalties (Rule 4.1); waiver of the application of the Commission’s Administrative Penalties Regulations 2020 (Rule 4.2); as well as prosecutorial discretion, particularly Rules 5.1 and 5.3 (subject to compliance with Rules 3 and 5.4),” the commission said.

The Commission withdrew outstanding criminal charges against BATN and at least one employee for attempting to impede an inquiry.

The statement noted that after reviewing evidence and cooperation, the FCCPC and BAT Parties closed the investigation through a consent order, the statement said, adding that the settlement involves BAT Parties agreeing to a $110 million penalty, subjected to 24-month compliance monitoring.

“That BAT Parties shall pay a penalty of $110,000,000 (One hundred and Ten Million Dollars) under and pursuant to Sections 155 of the FCCPA, Clause 11 of the Federal Competition and Consumer Protection Commission’s Administrative Penalties Regulations, 2020 and Clause 4.2 of the Federal Competition and Consumer Protection Commission’s Investigative Cooperation/Assistance Rules and Procedures, 2021,” it said.

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