South Africa’s Department of International Relations has confirmed in a statement that an investigation is underway with regards to former ambassador to Iran, Yusuf Salojee, receiving bribes from South African mobile operator MTN.
“The SA telecommunications group stands accused of paying bribes to secure a mobile phone operating licence in Iran, but has denied any wrongdoing. It is alleged that MTN made a payment of $200 000 (R1.6-million) towards the purchase of a house for Salojee in SA,” Sapa wrote.
International Relations Minister Maite Nkoana-Mashabane said previously that there was no need for an investigation, as Democratic Alliance MP David Maynier welcomed the turn-around. “It is not clear why the department has done an about turn, but the institution of this investigation is nevertheless a welcome development,” he said.
According to Sapa, “the claims originated from Turkish mobile operator Turkcell, which won a tender in 2004 for the second private mobile operating licence in Iran. However, the licence was finally awarded to MTN Irancell, a consortium in which MTN holds a 49% stake.”
Former MTN Group CEO Phuthuma Nhleko also previously also stated that he has no knowledge of any bribes being paid.
“In the circumstances I do therefore consider it necessary to repeat that no bribes were approved or paid with my consent or the consent of the MTN Group. The allegation that the MTN Group was pervaded by a culture of ‘extensive corruption’ is scurrilous and untrue,” he said in a release.
Charlie Fripp – Consumer Tech editor