MTN paid no bribes, says ex-CEO
Former MTN Group president and CEO Phuthuma Nhleko has again rubbished allegations that either he or the telecommunications operator paid bribes to secure an operating licence in Iran.
In a statement issued on Wednesday, Nhleko says the allegations, made by Turkcell, are without foundation.
“I repeat that, during my tenure as CEO of MTN, no bribes were approved or paid with my consent or the consent of the MTN Group,” he says. “Further, neither the MTN Group nor I were in a position to influence the decisions and foreign policy of the SA government, and we did not do so.”
Turkcell, which had also been bidding for the Iranian licence but lost out to MTN, filed an explosive lawsuit in a US federal court in March, implicating MTN and SA government officials in bribery and corruption.
“The allegations now made by Turkcell are being made inexplicably for the first time in almost seven years after the licence was issued in Iran,” Nhleko says in the statement. “These allegations are entirely without substance and have been made recklessly and irresponsibly by an aggrieved competitor.”
He says Turkcell is “attempting to pursue its claims in a US court, despite the fact that the issue is one between a Turkish company and an SA company regarding a licence in Iran”.
“There is no connection whatsoever with the US. The question of jurisdiction will ultimately be decided by a US court. However, in the interim, Turkcell continues to use the media to publish its far-fetched allegations, which are based on the contradictory and inconsistent evidence given, on deposition, in the US, by a disgruntled former MTN employee,” Nhleko says.
“The allegation that the MTN Group was pervaded by a culture of ‘extensive corruption’ is scurrilous and untrue. I remain willing to assist MTN and SA law enforcement agencies in rebutting the false claims and allegations made by Turkcell.” — (c) 2012 NewsCentral Media