HomeNewsFCCPC Imposes $110 Million Fine on BAT Nigeria, Affiliates for Multiple Violations

FCCPC Imposes $110 Million Fine on BAT Nigeria, Affiliates for Multiple Violations

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The Federal Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (FCCPC) has imposed a $110 million fine on British American Tobacco (BAT) Nigeria and its affiliated companies for multiple violations of the FCCPC Act, the National Tobacco Control Act, and other legal instruments.

In a statement released on Wednesday in Abuja, the commission clarified that the fine was determined through mutual engagement with BAT under the FCCPC’s Cooperation/Assistance Rules & Procedure (CARP) 2021. This framework offers potential benefits like reduced penalties and waiver of certain regulations for companies willing to cooperate.

The BAT parties will also be subject to a 24-month compliance and monitoring program overseen by the FCCPC to ensure adherence to appropriate business practices. Additionally, they will be required to undertake a mandatory public health and tobacco control advocacy campaign compliant with relevant laws and regulations.

Furthermore, the BAT parties will provide written assurances to the Commission as per Section 153 of the FCCPA. In exchange for fulfilling their obligations under the Consent Order, the Commission has withdrawn pending criminal charges against BAT Nigeria and one employee for obstructing the execution of a search warrant and initial lack of cooperation during the investigation.

The FCCPC’s investigation, initiated on August 28, 2020, was prompted by credible information and intelligence warranting further inquiry. After obtaining a search warrant from the Federal High Court, the Commission executed simultaneous searches at multiple BAT locations and a service provider’s location on January 25, 2021.

Subsequent analysis of seized electronic communications and other data, along with additional investigation and evidence gathering, established and supported multiple violations of the FCCPA and other relevant laws.

The statement read, “The commencement of the investigation was based on the Commission’s satisfaction that a series of credible pieces of information and intelligence were actionable enough for broader and deeper inquiry.

Upon satisfying the Federal High Court that there was probable cause and sufficient evidence to exercise advanced statutory regulatory/investigatory tools, the court issued an Order and Warrant of Search and Seizure.

“The Commission on January 25, 2021 executed simultaneous and contemporaneous searches and seizures at multiple BAT parties locations and a location of a service provider.

“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.”

The FCCPC reiterates its commitment to upholding its mandate of promoting fair markets and protecting consumer interests. This outcome demonstrates the Commission’s unwavering resolve to enforce the law and hold businesses accountable, even when complex and lengthy investigations are necessary.

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