VENTURES AFRICA – Africa’s largest mobile telecommunications company, MTN has again labelled corruption allegations against the company as “nonsense”.
According to MTN’s CEO Sifiso Dabengwa, Turkcell has claims has no legal merit.
In March, Turkcell had filed a suit against MTN alleging that the African telecoms giant bribed officials and influenced foreign policy in exchange for a cellphone network licence in Iran. Turkcell had filed a $4.2bn lawsuit in a US federal court, accusing it of using bribery and other corrupt acts to win its licence in Iran in 2004
Last week, South African elite Hawks police unit said it carrying out due diligence on MTN as regards the allegations of corruption.
According toMTN Group’s CEO, in a statement on Friday, Turkcell obtained information from a disgruntled former MTN employee. The CEO said, “MTN has been threatened and attacked by a disappointed competitor and a disgruntled former employee.”
Mr Dabengwa added: “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.”
The CEO explained further saying: “He is being paid by Turkcell for his role in their legal claims, and has admitted that he is motivated by a grudge against MTN’s former management”
Mr Dabengwa also said allegations by Turkcell that MTN was engaged in a cover-up were “simply nonsense”, adding that MTN had launched its investigation into Turkcell’s claims long before they were filed by the Turkish company.
He emphasised MTN’s optimism on the case stating that the company was “confident that the investigation will determine whether there was any misconduct on the part of the former employee now working for Turkcell, or by any other MTN employee”
Turkcell, which initially was awarded the Iranian mobile phone license, sued its South African rival in federal court in Washington for $4.2 billion in damages in March this year. The suit includes evidence of several alleged internal MTN memos detailing the company’s questionable efforts to win the Iranian business after losing the bid to Turkcell in February 2004.