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Surely this is the end of Bidco and Vimal Shah!


Vimal Shah maybe headed for a great period of turmoil as he faces what Bidco Africa is referring to as a faceless group of online protesters whose only aim is to extort Money from the company. Apparently the group calling themselves The Bidco Truth Coalition has been harassing the company for close to a year. At one point they made a demand of $ 500,000 just to ”go away”
The protesters picketed outside Barclays and Standard chartered offices in London. They want the banks to stop doing business with Bidco Africa. Barclays and Standard Chartered are members of the Banking Environment Initiative (BEI), based at Cambridge University’s Institute for Sustainability Leadership, which is under the patronage of The Prince of Wales. The mission of the nine-member initiative is to lead the banking industry in collectively directing capital towards environmentally and socially sustainable economic development. This is something the banks are going against by financing Bidco Africa.
The group claims that the company has cut down thousands of acres of pristine rain forest in Uganda. They are claiming that Bidco commits human rights and labor violations and tax evasion in Kenya and Tanzania. They also make the claim that Bidco has also grabbed land from over 100 smallholder farmers.
The environmental impact of the palm oil project speared headed by Bidco, has led activists to call on the UN Global Compact to eject Bidco from its roster of members. In 2004, the World Bank pulled out of Bidco’s Uganda project, citing violations of the World Bank’s anti-deforestation policies.
Today however, Bidco made a statement claiming this is just a smear campaign that is being financed by someone whom Bidco is aware of but failed to mention. They say that the information is just a distortion of facts.
Kodey Rao the Bidco Uganda Managing Director said “No forests were taken in Uganda, there have been four independent Environmental Impact Assessments done and they all give the project a clean bill of health. On the question of land, out of 9000 hectares acquired for the project, there is only one dispute with one farmer who was a squatter on someone’s land and the case is in court,”
He added
“1750 farmers earned Ush1.5 billion last month. I wish someone could talk about that and how their lives have changed, the houses they have built, the cars they have bought and how they are taking their children to private universities.”
Vimal Shah added that the allegations of tax evasion the most saddening.
“We are a proudly Kenyan company. We gladly pay on average about $70M a year in taxes and just because we have one dispute over the computation of one tax bill we are bad guys. The case is in court; why not let the courts decide?”
Bidco claims the group has approached several local PR firms to spear head the smear campaigns. Bidco also says that the group was invited by Kepsa to prove the validity of the claims they were making but not a single soul showed up.

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