South African mobile operator MTN has come under increasing public scrutiny in recent days in relation to their non-controlling 49% stake in Irancell.
MTN Group President and CEO, Sifiso Dabengwa, in a statement released to the media said: “We would like to set the record straight for the benefit of our stakeholders, particularly our dedicated staff who work under difficult conditions across all our emerging market operations, as well as our customers, business partners, shareholders and regulators in different jurisdictions.”
The statement described the company as a venture that had strong ethics and values, and was an “African success story”.
“We do not tolerate illegal or corrupt practices. We take allegations of wrongdoing by our employees seriously, as we demonstrated in our appointment of a special committee to investigate the allegations made by Turkcell,” Dabengwa added.
MTN also stressed that they will be working with the Hawks, which has officialy opened an investigation into the matter and the activities of the mobile operator. “We cooperate with the authorities, and we are prepared to cooperate with the Hawks in any investigation by them into this matter.”
Relating back to the bribery claims made by a former employee, MTN said it is disappointed about the matter.
“MTN has been threatened and attacked by a disappointed competitor and a disgruntled former employee. The claims made by Turkcell in US proceedings have no legal merit and no place in a US court. We are fighting those claims, and we fully expect them to be dismissed. In any event, the former employee, who is the source of the claims, has been shown through the evidence in his deposition not to be a credible witness.”
MTN claimed that the employee is being paid by Turkcell for his role in their legal claims and claims he has a grudge against MTN’s former management. “Contrary to Turkcell’s public statements, the former employee’s evidence was significantly discredited in his recent deposition as largely based on speculation, innuendo and hearsay,” the statement continued.
MTN concluded their statement by stressing that Turkcell has no basis for their claims. “Turkcell’s allegations that MTN is engaged in a “cover up” are simply nonsense. MTN launched its investigation into Turkcell’s claims long before they were filed by Turkcell. MTN has appointed Lord Hoffmann, one of the world’s most eminent jurists, to ensure the independence and integrity of the investigation.”
Charlie Fripp – Consumer Tech editor