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Microsoft Involved in Alleged Widespread Corruption in Africa, says Whistleblower

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On Friday, a former employee of Microsoft wrote an essay that was published on Lioness, a whistleblower website, alleging that corruption in the company has become widespread across Africa and the Middle East.

In 2019, the tech giant company together with its former partner, South African EOH Mthombo, was accused of being implicated in alleged corruption in a scandal that involved dodgy government contracts which the whistleblower claims was just a tip of an iceberg, according to Tech Central.

Tech Central reported at the time that this ordeal led to Microsoft terminating its agreements with EOH.

In response to these allegations, a Microsoft executive said on Saturday that they previously investigated the allegations and labeled them “many years old”, according to Media24.

“We cooperated with government agencies to resolve any concerns,” Becky Lenaburg, VP and deputy general counsel for compliance and ethics at Microsoft, said.

“We are committed to doing business in a responsible way. Microsoft always encourages anyone to report anything they see that may violate the law, our policies, or our ethical standards,” Lenaburg added.

The whistleblower alleged that in 2016 a request for $40,000 came through to accelerate the closing of a deal in one African country. However, the client did not appear on Microsoft’s database of potential clients, the whistleblower said.

“…he wasn’t even supposed to be doing business with Microsoft: he had been terminated four months earlier for poor performance on the sales team, and corporate policy prohibits former employees from working as partners for six months from their departure without special approval,” Yasser Elabd, a former employee at Microsoft, wrote in the lengthy blog post.

Elabd claims that when he brought the issues up with the Microsoft services architect, which he didn’t name, who wrote the request, she reportedly said that the in-house team was expensive and that they needed a less expensive team to handle a pilot project.

“Still suspicious, I escalated the issue to my manager, and then to the human resources and legal departments. I took the business investment fund very seriously and wondered why we would be giving money to a partner who could not achieve the desired results. The legal and HR teams put a stop to the $40,000 spend, but to my surprise, did not look deeper into the Microsoft employees who were orchestrating the fake deal,” Elabd said.

By Zintle Nkohla

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