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MTN confirms arrest, deportation of its chief marketing officer


FILE PHOTO: MTN chief Wim Vanhelleputte and his Marketing officer Prentout (right) who has been deported.


Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT |  Telecom giants MTN have confirmed the deportation of their two staff by Uganda authorities.

In a statement issued on Tuesday morning, MTN confirmed the deportation of Olivier Prentout, the Chief Marketing Officer MTN Uganda and Annie Bilenge Tabura, the Head of Sales and Distribution to France and Rwanda respectively.

According to the statement, Prentout was arrested by Uganda Police at Entebbe airport on Saturday 19 January 2019 shortly after arrival from a business trip abroad while Tabura was picked up unidentified security personnel upon arrival at the MTN headquarters in Kololo on Monday.

MTN said they remain committed to respecting the laws of the country. “MTN Uganda, together with all its employees, remains fully committed to operating within and respecting the laws of the country,” the statement reads.

A statement signed by the Deputy Police Spokesperson, Polly Namaye, says the duo was involved in activities that comprise national security.

She explained that security agencies have been monitoring the activities of the duo in close coordination with immigration officials. “We strongly believe that the deportation of the two foreigners, who were using their employment tools to achieve their ill motives, has enabled us disrupt their intended plans of compromising our national security,” Namaye said in her statement.

Police Spokesperson, Fred Enanga declined to divulge details of their investigations when contacted by URN for further explanation. “And you think you will get those details? I don’t think so. But get in touch with Polly, I gave her that assignment,” he said.

Based in South Africa, MTN is one of the largest telecom operators on the continent.

This incident is not its first brush with Ugandan authorities.

Last July, MTN said armed men claiming to be from Uganda’s Internal Security Organisation “kidnapped” two of its contractors and forced them to open up the company’s main data centre, where they made an unsuccessful attempt to access servers.

MTN Uganda said at the time that it took the “criminal incident” seriously and had reported it to the authorities, while adding it didn’t believe it was under investigation.

Rwanda and Uganda have had strained relations in recent years. The two East African neighbours each accuse the other of espionage.

Uganda has occasionally arrested suspected Rwanda spies, while Rwanda has accused its northern neighbour together with Burundi of supporting rebels opposed to President Paul Kagame.



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