‘MTN’s Vanhelleputte Kept Touch with Deported Staff Accused of Subversive Acts’

MTN CEO, Wim Vanhelleputte.

In yet another crackdown by government on Uganda’s biggest telecom company, MTN Uganda, the Chief Executive, Wim Vanhelleputte has been deported to Belgium.

The deportation order for Vanhelleputte, a Belgian national, was signed off by Minister of Internal Affairs, Gen Jejje Odogo on Thursday.

The deportation order states that Wim MTN was deported in accordance with Section 52 (g) of the Uganda Citizenship and Immigration Control Act.

Gen Odongo approved that Wim be deported to Belgium indefinitely. While government is yet to disclose details around the deportation of the fourth Senior official at the telco in less than one month, SoftPower News has learnt it is related to last month’s deportations.

Last month, security arrested and deported Olivier Prentout (French) who was Chief Marketing Officer and Annie Tabura, a Rwandan national, who has been MTN’s General Manager for Sales and Distribution.

“Security agencies in close coordination with immigration officials have been investigating two foreign nationals working with a leading mobile telecom company over their engagement in acts which compromise national security,” Police said in a statement.

Days later, Elza Muzzolini, 34, an Italian national, who was the General Manager Mobile Financial Services at MTN Uganda, was also deported from Uganda.

A source within security told SoftPower News Thursday that Wim was not exonerated by investigations which led to the deportation of Olivier and Tabura.

He had been summoned by Police to explain the alleged actions of the deported Senior Managers in activities considered subversive to Uganda.

Wim used the virtual space to maintain communication with individuals who were deported and he has admitted to doing so,” our source said.

A senior security official close to investigations into infiltration and attempts to compromise Ugandan security by a foreign neighbouring government told SoftPower News: “How dare Wim maintain communication with deported individuals who were involved in subversive acts well aware that he is under investigation?”

The source said the MTN boss’ actions obstructed investigations in matters concerning national security.

Upon the deportation of his staffers, Olivier and Tabura, Wim reportedly started to intimidate Ugandan MTN staff, accusing them of working with Ugandan security. It is also said that Wim coached others on what to say should they be summoned.

Police is expected to issue a statement on Friday regarding Wim’s deportation.

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