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Deported MTN Uganda CEO goes to court

Vanhelleputte

Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | MTN’s Chief Executive Officer Wim Vanhelleputte says that the process used by the Minister of Internal Affairs Jeje Odongo to declare him undesirable was highhanded and arbitrary, and he has decided to challenge it in court.

Vanhelleputte has filed a suit challenging his deportation from Uganda. He asked the court to quash the deportation and order for general damages for illegal detention and deportation, describing it as irrational.

Vanhelleputte says he has been married to a Ugandan, Barbara Adoso Vanhelleputte with whom they have since sired two children in a relationship that has continued for 19-years.

Vanhelleputte argued that he was never accorded a fair or just treatment before, during and after the making of the deportation orders.

He explains that prior to his deportation he had been summoned thrice, on January 22, January 29 and on February 14, 2019, to appear before the Special Investigations Unit in Kireka where he interfaced with Elly Womanya, the officer in charge of criminal investigations and Brigadier Abel Kandiho, the Commander of the Chieftaincy of Military Intelligence, who interrogated him before handing him to another person.

He added that one of the main issues of interest during the interrogation was as to whether he was communicating with MTN staff that had earlier been declared persona non grata.  He said he acknowledged that they were still in contact because they had not handed over offices at the time of abrupt deportation, and needed to ensure continuity of company operations.

Vanhelleputte’s application is supported by his wife Adoso who has attached her sworn in affidavit and a copy of the marriage certificate dated April 29, 2000. The couple has allegedly known each other since 1993.

In her affidavit, Barbara Adoso says that her husband had never committed any offence or crime under the laws of Uganda and neither is he responsible for breaking the law.

The Belgian is the fourth employee of Uganda’s telecom giant to be deported in the last one month after being declared prohibited immigrants.

MTN staff deported earlier include Italian national Elsa Mussolini, the former General Manager for Mobile Finance Services, French national Olivier Prentout, who was the Chief Marketing Officer at MTN-Uganda and Rwandan national Annie Bilenge Tabura, the General Manager, Sales and Distribution at MTN-Uganda.

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