Africa: The Shadowy World of Big Tobacco - Africa Comes Cheap At the Price

Two new reports reveal how multinational British American Tobacco ran a mass surveillance operation and informant network in South Africa and made questionable payments totalling $600,000 in 10 other African countries.

"Most of our operations were not within the law. We were actually not the law; we were not worried about the law. Most of these operations were without the law."

These are the words of whistle-blower Francois van der Westhuizen who was being interviewed on the BBC's investigative programme Panorama this week about the work carried out by FFS, a Johannesburg-based private security company, for British American Tobacco.

According to BAT, FFS was a company it employed to support South African law enforcement in its effort to root out the trade in illicit tobacco.

Van der Westhuizen tells a different story. "There were no rules... We became part of that world of criminality... Our people broke into people's premises two o'clock in the morning like a thief in the night to place devices [vehicle trackers]."

Interviewed on the same programme, another former FFS employee turned whistle-blower, Pieter Snyders, confirmed that paying bribes, using tracking devices, hiring spies, tapping telephones and watching the trucks of competitors was all in a...

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