WATCH | Lord Tim Bell - I had nothing to do with Gupta campaign
Former chairman of public relations firm Bell Pottinger‚ Lord Tim Bell‚ has distanced himself from a contract his former company signed with Gupta-owned company Oakbay.
He was speaking to the BBC Newsnight on Monday night following the ruling by the Public Relations and Communications Association to terminate Bell Pottinger’s membership for five years for its campaign for the Gupta family which stoked racial tensions‚ particularly hostility aimed at wealthy whites.
Lord Bell resigned as chairman of Bell Pottinger in August last year.
He admitted to coming to South Africa in January last year to go and meet the Guptas and decide whether they needed PR help or not.
“I came back and I said to (CEO) James Henderson it is a very interesting piece of business‚ but we cannot handle it because of conflict of interest‚” Lord Bell said.
However‚ the interviewer mentioned that Lord Bell wrote an email on January 18 2016 saying the trip was a success.
The email also said the company would earn GBP 100‚ 000 a month with interest and costs and that Lord Bell would oversee this deal.
Lord Bell said this email was written while he was in South Africa and that he had informed Henderson the company should not take the contract when he came back from South Africa.
He said when he came back from South Africa‚ he did “absolutely nothing”.
He said the company submitted a proposal via the firm’s lead partner‚ Victoria Geoghegan‚ to the Guptas.
Lord Bell said nobody listened to him and that is why he left the company.
“I had nothing to do with getting this account.”