The news started filtering through early last evening that, Telecommunication giants MTN CEO Wim Vanhelleputte had been escorted to Entebbe airport handcuffed and was due to be deported. Eventually at around 9pm the confirmation came through a deportation order that was availed to the media and splashed all over social media.
This comes hot on heels of earlier deportation of the chief marketing officer Olivier Prentout who is French-Cameroonian, the general manager for sales and distribution Annie Bilenge Tabura of Rwandese origin, and the mobile money general manager Elza Muzzolini an Italian , over national security concerns.
It is believed the three were linked to activities that were supporting rebel activities backed by a foreign government using MTN Mobile Money (MOMO) and numerous unregistered SIM cards.
Ms Mussolini on the other side, is said to have claimed that, she was ejected from the country for allegedly inciting violence by funding Robert Kyagulanyi alias Bobi Wine using mobile money platforms.
A few weeks after the deportation of the senior managers, security intensified their investigations and it reported they zeroed on the CEO as ‘the mastermind’ of all the activities of the deported foreigners’ where they are accused of threatening security by ‘providing Intel to an unnamed country’.
Consequently, Mr Wim was also deported to Belgium last night because of espionage and “deemed an undesirable immigrant by virtue of Section 52 of the Uganda Citizenship and Immigration Control Act”.
Police spokesperson Fred Enanga says Wim was deported “Over similar circumstances of national security.”
MTN Uganda confirmed in a statement that their boss was deported but also added that iit ‘‘has not been notified of the grounds for the deportation and is working hard to establish precise reasons for the deportation”.
“We are understandably concerned about these developments and are engaging with the authorities to seek understanding that would lead us to resolving this matter.’’ The statement issued by MTN Group Corporate Affairs reads in part.
MTN Uganda adds that, they are “working hard to establish precise reasons for the deportation.”
ACTING CEO APPOINTED
MTN Uganda has since appointed Engineer Gordian Kyomukama, a highly trained electrical engineer who has been working as its Chief Technology Officer as the acting CEO.
“To ensure business continuity, we have appointed Mr. Gordian Kyomukama, currently Chief Technology Officer, as Acting Chief Executive,” they confirmed in a statement.