Why MTN’s Vanhelleputte was deported
On Thursday night, MTN Uganda Chief executive officer Wim Vanhelleputte was deported after being declared an undesirable immigrant.
Beyond the brief explanation by the police, there is a litany of factors that led to Vanhelleputte’s deportation which came within three weeks of an earlier deportation of three other senior managers at the telecom company.
According to government spokesman Ofwono Opondo, the deportations are a result of an ongoing investigation into the operations of the telecom company which discovered that MTN Uganda has been making underclarations of its earnings with an aim of evading taxes.
MTN allegedly took advantage of government’s incapacity to monitor telephony traffic to make underclarations until recently when government built capacity to monitor the operations of the telecoms.
“MTN has continued to allow unregistered Simcards; the other one is that MTN is conducting promotions, making money but not fully declaring the money for example MOMO or MTN marathon who monitors how much is raised? and when MTN makes declarations and government is disputing the declaration, where is it spending the rest of the money that it has not declared?” Opondo said.
The main issue though is the company’s alleged working with foreign agents to undermine the security of Uganda.
Opondo said that MTN had allowed foreign forces to access data and servers which compromised the cpuntry’s security.
Last year, security operatives raided MTN data centre on Mutundwe hill and took away its servers.
“Mr. Vim himself made a commitment to the government of Uganda on how he was going to make internal reforms to ensure that his staff do not use their previlleged positions to undermine the security of Uganda. To the surprise of security, last week, Mr. Vim travelled to Dubai and held a meeting with two people, the Italian (Elsa Mussolin) and French ( Olivier Prentout) who had been deported,” Opondo said.
According to Opondo, since Vanhelleputte did not declare his travel to Dubai, and the meeting of the two former MTN Uganda employees, security is convinced that the meeting was meant to further espionage activities to compromise the security of the country.
This explains why prior to his deportation, Vanhelleputte was interrogated by Ugandan security over the Dubai meeting as well as other issues at MTN.
Opondo defended the Internal Affairs Minister Gen Jeje Odongo whom he says acted with the law to cause for Vanhelleputte’s deportation.