The chief executive officer of MTN Uganda, a unit of South Africa’s MTN Group, has been deported from the East African country over national security, police said on Friday, 15 February.
The development is the latest concern for the largest telecommunications firm in Uganda after three senior executives were deported in January.
Police spokesman Fred Enanga told Reuters Wim Vanhelleputte had been deported and was “destined for Belgium around midnight (Thursday) over… circumstances of national security.”
In a statement over Twitter, MTN Uganda it was trying to find out why Vanhelleputte had been deported, as this had not been communicated to them.
“We are understandably concerned about these developments and are engaging with the authorities to seek understanding that would lead us to resolving this matter,” it said.
MTN UGANDA CEO DEPORTATION
MTN confirms that Mr. Wim Vanhelleputte, the CEO of MTN Uganda has been deported from Uganda.
MTN has not been notified of the grounds for the deportation and is working hard to establish precise reasons for the deportation. @MTNGroup pic.twitter.com/BTVgyaWBVW
— MTN Uganda (@mtnug) February 15, 2019
Vanhelleputte had been in the role of CEO since July 2016 at the Uganda branch of MTN, which operates in 22 African countries.
In July 2018, MTN said armed men claiming to be from Uganda’s Internal Security Organisation “kidnapped” two of its contractors and forced them to open up the company’s main data centre, where they made an unsuccessful attempt to access servers.
MTN Uganda said at the time that it took the “criminal incident” seriously and had reported it to the authorities, while adding it didn’t believe it was under investigation.
MTN Uganda has thus far appointed Mr Gordian Kyomukama, currently Chief Technology Officer, as Acting Chief Executive.