KAMPALA: The South African MTN Group is in preparations to send a delegation to Uganda to meet top government officials, following Thursday’s deportation of MTN Uganda CEO Wim Vanhelleputte under unclear circumstances, a source has told Eagle Online.
A source has told Eagle Online that the deportation of Vanhelleputte has created fear among shareholders of MTN Group that their business in Uganda could be closed especially after several warnings by President Yoweri Museveni about the companies activities which included among others under declaration of taxes.
“The South African delegation is in contact with MTN Uganda Chairman Charles Mbiire who is expected to lead them in meeting government officials,” a source said. Sources say was Mbiire was invited to police to record a statement following the deportation of Vanhelleputte.
In a letter signed by Internal Affairs Minister Gen Jeje Odongo, Vanhelleputte is to stay outside Uganda indefinitely.
Meanwhile MTN Uganda has appointed a Ugandan as Gordian Kyomukama as the Acting CEO after the deportation of Vanhelleputte, the company said in the latest statement.
“To ensure business continuity, we have appointed Mr. Gordian Kyomukama, currently Chief Technology Officer, as Acting Chief Executive. Our focus continues to be on delivering the best quality products and services to our customers,” the statement said.
Vanhelleputte’s deportation comes about a month after the arrest and deportation of three other senior employees of the telecommunications giant. These were; the chief marketing officer, Mr Olivier Prentout, the mobile money general manager Ms Elsa Mussolini and Annie Tabura who was the general manager for sales and distribution at MTN Uganda.
There has been a continuing investigation against more MTN staff for allegedly compromising National Security using their positions at the company.
Following the deportation of the staff in January MTN Group’s CEO Robert Shuter would meet Museveni in Davos, Switzerland during the World Economic Forum. Sources say the brief discussion focused on an array of issues such as the company listing the Group’s affiliate on the Uganda Securities Exchange but as well as discussion on the deported MTN workers.
Sources said Shuter approached Museveni in Davos to see how they could resolve the on-going scandal involving the deportation of staff of the company for allegedly working to breach Uganda’s national security.
“MTN is a big business in Uganda and earning huge profits and the CEO cannot take the recent allegations lightly,” a source said.
Recently the Uganda Communications Communication asked MTN Uganda for US$58 million for renewal of its licence, even though Museveni wanted the company to pay over US$100 million.
Shareholding in MTN Group
Public (1 330 035 300 shares)
Directors and associates of the Company holdings (325087 shares)
MTN Zakhele Futhi (RF) Limited (76, 835, 378 shares
Lombard Odier Darier Hentsch &Cie (M1 Limited) (185, 657, 322 shares)
Government Employees Pension Fund (281, 210, 416 shares)
Mobile Telephone Networks Holdings (10, 206, 255 shares)