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Consumer Act violation: FCCPC slams N110bn fine on British American tobacco

The Federal Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (FCCPC) has slammed a $110m fine on British American Tobacco (Nigeria) as a result of its violation of…

The Federal Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (FCCPC) has slammed a $110m fine on British American Tobacco (Nigeria) as a result of its violation of the Federal Competition and Consumer Protection Act, National Tobacco Control Act and sundry legal instruments.

The fine was contained in a statement issued yesterday by the FCCPC, which was signed by the management of the commission.

The naira equivalent about N1,000 to $1 shows that the amount is estimated to be N110 billion.

The commission had on August 28, 2020, opened an active investigation with respect to British American Tobacco Nigeria Limited and other affiliated companies (BAT Parties).

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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 with respect to certain conduct, for, by and on behalf of BAT Parties.

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 said it also 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.

The commission closed the investigation by the commission’s 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 under and pursuant to Sections 155 of the FCCPA, Clause 11 of the FCCPC Administrative Penalties Regulations, 2020 and Clause 4.2 of the FCCPC 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.

 

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