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Nestlé under investigation by Pakistan anti-corruption body in Raza case

28th March 2000

Pakistan's new anti-corruption body, The National Accountability Bureau, is investigating Nestlé having received information of malpractice from a former employee, Syed Aamar Raza, it has been reported in The News in Pakistan. Senior Nestlé staff are implicated in attempting to boost baby milk sales by bribing doctors, making direct contact with mothers and paying staff by sales performance. A report on the evidence, Milking Profits, was launched at the British Medical Association by Baby Milk Action with Mr. Raza on 15th February. On 29th February Mr. Raza made a presentation at the House of Commons.

Mr. Raza sent a Legal Notice to Nestlé in November 1997, calling it to end its malpractice. Nestlé has still not responded to the substance of Mr. Raza's allegations and has told journalists it is still investigating. Baby Milk Action has been pressing Nestlé Headquarters in Switzerland to provide information regarding audits it claims to conduct into its subsidiary companies.

Mike Brady, Campaigns and Networking Coordinator, Baby Milk Action said:

"In the media Nestlé is attempting to blame Mr. Raza for the violations, disregarding the fact that Mr. Raza's superiors authorised payments and signed cheques. Minutes even show the number of points awarded to staff for sales of different baby milks in the sales incentive scheme. Mr. Raza's payslips indicate the amount of money he received. Nestlé's Chief Executive claims he personally investigates any hint of wrong-doing. I have written to him asking for full details of his investigation."

Shortly before Mr. Raza's appearance in the House of Commons, shots were fired at his house in Sialkot, Pakistan. Baby Milk Action has confirmed the report of the shooting with contacts in Pakistan and has received written statements from neighbours. Rather than condemning the attack, Nestlé is attempting to suggest it did not really happen and is distributing a document signed by a police officer who has since moved from the area and cannot now be contacted. Baby Milk Action is asking the appropriate authority in Pakistan to investigate Nestlé's response to the shooting.

For information on ordering Milking Profits, visit the Baby Milk Action Virtual Shop

For further information contact : Baby Milk Action, 23 St. AndrewŐs Street, Cambridge, CB2 3AX.
Tel: 01223 464420 Fax: 01223 464417

Notes for Editors:

  1. Baby food companies are required to abide by the International Code of Marketing of Breastmilk Substitutes and subsequent, relevant Resolutions adopted by the World Health Assembly. The Assembly is the policy setting body of the World Health Organisation. These measures are not enforceable, unless adopted in national legislation. Nestlé has been opposing this in Pakistan since at least 1992. A draft law is presently with the new administration in Pakistan, but has still not been passed.

  2. According to UNICEF, where water is unsafe a bottle-fed child is up to 25 times more likely to die as a result of diarrhoea than a breastfed child. In Pakistan, 26% of the population does not have access to safe water and 53% do not have access to adequate sanitation.

  3. The evidence contained in Milking Profits substantiates evidence found by monitoring in 33 cities in Pakistan and published as the report Feeding Fiasco in March 1998. Evidence from around the world continues to demonstrate that Nestlé is violating the marketing requirements in a systematic manner. For information on ordering Feeding Fiasco, visit the Virtual Shop.

  4. Nestlé is distributing a report dated a week after the shooting incident in Sialkot which contradicts the information in Baby Milk Action's possession, even to the extent of saying there are no bullet marks at the house. The presence of bullet marks has been independently verified by a journalist in Pakistan. The police Station House Officer named in Nestlé's report has been transferred from the station and no contact details are being released by his replacement.

  5. The German launch of Milking Profits coincided with an article in Stern, including pictures taken in Pakistan which may be purchased for publication from the syndication agency Picture Press GmbH. For details of pictures contact Picture Press GmbH on +49 40 3703 2572. Baby Milk Action has no connection with the agency nor responsibility for the pictures.

  6. An investigative television series in Germany, Kennzeichen D, was to broadcast film of Mr. Raza in Pakistan on 8th December 1999. This was cancelled at the last minute after Nestlé's Communications Director, Francois Perroud, met with a senior executive of ZDF television. The journalist responsible for the film has since resigned and it has been reported in Die Welt that the 28-year-old investigative television series responsible for the film is to be axed by ZDF.

  7. Richard Howitt MEP is arranging for public hearings into the baby food industry, scheduled for June, to take place at the European Parliament. He has raised questions about Nestlé activities.

  8. Nestlé has attempted to divert attention from the evidence by alleging that Mr. Raza attempted to blackmail the company. Mr. Raza denies this, saying his life was threatened by Nestlé and he was offered money. Baby Milk Action position is the evidence provided by Mr. Raza should be examined in its own right and that the blackmail allegation is a separate issue. While the blackmail allegation is a legal matter between Mr. Raza and Nestlé, Baby Milk Action has been asking Nestlé to substantiate its allegation for the past year without success.

Some news reports on the Internet:

British Medical Journal, 18th February 2000

The Times, 16th February 2000

Western Mail, 16th February 2000


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