Super Spy Craig Williamson
British American Tobacco (BAT) has been involved in a full-scale war against African policy makers keen on curbing cigarette smoking. It has also run a sophisticated spying network aimed at closing down competitors. Allegations include widespread fraud, racketeering and illegal activity involving South African crime fighters and representatives of BAT.
Reinet Investments, headed by Johann Rupert, sold billions of rands worth of shares in BAT in recent years, but BusinessDay in May this year reported that: “The value of Reinert’s remaining 68-million BAT shares – as at the end of March – was about R61 bn”
A closer inspection of the people behind the industrial espionage in the tobacco industry in South Africa are a host of former apartheid intelligence operatives. A Twitter account @EspionageSA revealed massive documents linking former apartheid operatives to allegations of a BAT-sponsored campaign of economic crime.
He’s an apartheid spy linked to many state-sponsored atrocities including bombings, killings, burglaries, kidnappings and propaganda. He applied for amnesty at the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) for bombing the ANC London office. He was involved in the burglary at the PAC office in London. He sent letter bombs which assassinated anti-apartheid activists Ruth First and Jeanette Curtis Schoon and her six-year old Katryn.
He’s a former apartheid military man who now owns Forensic Security Services (FSS). An investigation by The Herald revealed that FSS was hired by the Tobacco Institute of South Africa (TISA) to monitor Zimbabwean tobacco manufactures whose products gave SA tobacco firms stiff competition. Botha’s company allegedly recruited spies within the Zimbabwean tobacco manufactures and paid them for details of their exports which would then be tracked and hijacked. FSS is said to be funded by BAT to a tune of R150m per year.
This arrangement enabled representatives of FSS and BAT through TISA to be part of the multi-agency Tobacco Task Team which also represented members of the HAWKS, South African Police Services, Crime Intelligence and NPA. FSS and BAT have a major influence on the Task Team and it has been alleged that many participants on the Task team are double or even triple agents paid by big tobacco companies.
He was a commander in the South African Police Service Reaction Unit from 1979 to 2001. This unit was a “counter-terrorist force” within the SAPS. These are the units that created havoc in townships.
Ferdie Fryer and Chris Burger both from apartheied’s National Intelligence Services
They were the SSA “handlers” of lawyer, Belinda Walter who was a paid informant of the SSA, and who with the knowledge of her respective SSA “handlers”, was also a paid informant for British American Tobacco UK Pie (“BAT UK”). She was paid to spy on her clients in the tobacco industry who included Carnilinx and the Fair Trade Independent Tobacco Association (FITA). FITA represents several smaller tobacco manufacturers in SA.
In the first part of the series into the rot at BAT, we looked at the company’s operations in Kenya under the leadership of BAT’s security manager, Paul Hopkins. A former Irish military man, he has since become a whistleblower after he was fired in 2014. An expose in the BBC’s Panorama last year, exposed widespread espionage, fraud and racketeering.
The allegations are similar to those made against BATSA in an affidavit made by a former employee of a company linked to the tobacco multinational. The affidavit and other files on the industry have been circulating on social media recently under @EspionageSA which was suspended a few minutes ago.
BAT is accused of wreaking similar havoc in the tobacco industry in other Southern African states.
Zimbabwean tobacco firms have, over the years, accused South Africa’s tobacco firms of hiring hijackers to pounce on exports consignments while traveling to SA. Some of their warehouses in SA have been burgled several times. Many of the indigenous tobacco firms have lost over hundreds of millions of rands in these robberies.
The Zimbabwean traders complain that in the midst of the campaign of robberies and hijackings, BAT is spared.