Uganda expelled two executives of the country’s largest telco MTN Uganda which has led to murmurs in Kigali even as uncertainty of the licence of the company hovers
MTN Uganda has been drawn into an international diplomatic tussle after Uganda expelled two senior executives of the Telco leading to multinational murmur over the move.
The two executives the MTN Uganda Chief Marketing Officer, Olivier Prentout, and the MTN Uganda Head of Sales and Distribution, Annie Bilenge Tabura were expelled over the weekend.
Both Mr. Prentout and Mrs. Bilenge have been deported from Uganda to their home countries, France and Rwanda respectively.
MTN Uganda, released a statement saying that the company together with all its employees, remains fully committed to operating within and respecting the laws of the country.
President Yoweri Museveni met with the MTN Group CEO Rob Shutter at the World Economic Forum to reaffirm MTN Group’s commitment to Uganda and discuss recent developments in the market.
Uganda’s Daily Monitor quoted security sources saying the two MTN Uganda senior officials were deported after intelligence agencies intercepted their communication to “a dangerous foreign group and persons” deemed a threat to the country’s security.
Rwanda’s High Commissioner to Uganda, Maj Gen Frank Mugambage has also weighed on the matter noting that the deportation of the Rwandan national was not isolated as several others have been deported in the recent past without clear explanation.
The deportation comes even as MTN Uganda seeks government nod to renew its licence which has since expired.
On October 28, 2018, President Museveni wrote to Uganda Communications Commission demanding an explanation why the fees for renewal of MTN Uganda’s operating licence had been reduced from the original $100m (about Shs370 billion) to $58m (about Shs217b).
MTN’s 20-year licence expired on October 20, 2018, prompting the regulator, Uganda Communications Commission, to grant it a 30-day interim licence after the Cabinet scuttled the process of getting a quick licence and demanded a review of the telco’s operations.
As of June last year, MTN commanded the largest share of mobile phone subscribers in Uganda at 10.5 million.