The federal government has revealed that British American Tobacco, Nigeria Limited and its related entities are to pay a penalty of $110 million over infringements.
The Federal Competition & Consumer Protection Commission disclosed this in a statement on Wednesday after a protracted infringement issued by the Commission against BAT and its affiliate entities.
The Commission noted that for BAT Parties to fulfil their obligations Under the Consent Order, it withdrew pending criminal charges against BATN and at least one employee concerning an attempt to prevent investigation.
Recall that on August 28, 2020, the Commission opened an active investigation concerning British American Tobacco Nigeria Limited and other affiliated companies (BAT Parties).
Upon receiving credible information on infringement by BAT, FCCPC got an Order and Warrant from the Federal High Court.
On January 25, 2021, the Commission executed simultaneous and contemporaneous searches and seizures at multiple BAT Parties’ locations and a service provider’s location.
“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.
“Upon full consideration of the record, BAT Parties’ additional articulation, representations and correspondence; totality of evidence procured, violations established under law, BAT Parties’ entry into, and conduct in cooperation and assistance under the Commission’s CAF; the Commission closed the investigation by the Commission and BAT Parties’ mutual execution of a Consent Order and Notice with both parties agreeing:
“That BAT Parties shall pay a penalty of $110,000,000 (One. Hundred and Ten Million Dollars) under and under 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;
“That BAT Parties’ shall be subject to compliance and monitoring under the supervision of the Commission for a period of 24 months to ensure appropriate behavioural and business practices modification to be more consistent with compliance with prevailing competition laws/regulations and tobacco control efforts;
“Mandatory public health and tobacco control advocacy in a manner compliant with tobacco control legislation and regulations and satisfactory to the Commission as mitigation to evidence of a pattern of undermining and circumventing national tobacco control policies and regulations; and That BAT Parties shall provide Written Assurances to the Commission under Section 153 of the FCCPA as required.
“In exchange for BAT Parties fulfilling their obligations Under the Consent Order, the Commission withdrew pending criminal charges against BATN and at least one employee concerning obstruction of the Commission by attempting to prevent the execution of the search warrant and initial lack of cooperation/compliance with steps in the investigation”, the Commission stated.