Africa

S.Africa: Ex-diplomat nabbed over yanking Turkcell deal

Former ambassador to Iran accused of fraud in taking cellphone license deal away from Turkcell to give to MTN South Africa

Ekip   | 16.02.2019
S.Africa: Ex-diplomat nabbed over yanking Turkcell deal

Johannesburg
By Hassan Isilow

JOHANNESBURG

A former South Africa diplomat has been charged with corruption linked to alleged fraud in yanking a cellphone network operating license from Turkish cellphone giant Turkcell.

Brig. Hangwani Mulaudzi, a spokesman for South Africa’s elite police unit the Hawks, told Anadolu Agency via telephone on Friday that Yusuf Saloojee, 75, “volunteered and handed over himself to authorities on Thursday.”

He said police have been probing claims that the former South African ambassador to Iran corruptly worked with Iranian officials to overturn a decision granting a cellphone network license to Turkcell.

The license was later awarded to MTN Irancell, a consortium in which MTN South Africa holds a huge stake.

According to the Hawks, MTN had reportedly come second in the contract, said to be worth $31.6 billion.

MTN is alleged to have made a payment of 1.4 million rands ($100,000) towards the purchase of a house for Saloojee for his alleged role in the deal, though the operator denies the claims.

The former diplomat was granted bail after appearing before the Johannesburg commercial crimes court. His case is to resume in the first week of April.

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