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Mugabe Threatens British American Tobacco Company

Mugabe Threatens British American Tobacco Company

Harare, November 29, 2012 – Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe on Wednesday threatened with unspecified action the British American Tobacco (BAT) after accusing the cigarette manufacturer of blocking products of their competitor, Savanna from getting into the market.

Mugabe,88, who was speaking at the indigenisation conference where BAT handed over 26 % of its shares to employees and locals to comply with indigenisation laws alleged that BAT was behind the disappearance of Savanna Tobacco cigarettes trucks in neighbouring South Africa in a move to continue controlling the market.

“I am dismayed by the information we have received over the week that BAT operating with groups in South Africa have been taking action, illicit action against another group called Savanna and lots of things have been happening, trucks with cigarettes from Savanna being stolen,” Mugabe told the conference.

“And these are briefings from the security over the week. I hope all will be well but in fact those are the things that have been happening in order to kill competition and you try to undo a competitor in that ugly way that’s not acceptable, some people will have to answer for it. Let’s hope the management is unaware of this, but I don’t think you are unaware because it’s quite a huge case.”

He said BAT management must desist from engaging in those activities, without giving what action he might take. The veteran leader said information on the allegations on BAT was gathered by the country’s intelligence agency and the security sector.

“I want you to straighten yourselves, it will be sad if some of you have been taking action or engaging in activities detrimental to Savanna. That information we have and it appears to be authentic,” said Mugabe who accused police and soldiers involvement in the sabotage without naming from which side of the border between South Africa and Zimbabwe were the security details involved in the sabotage.

Zimbabwe is currently forcing foreign owned companies to cede 51 % stake to locals without the locals funding the stake being taken.

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