Uganda deports French, Rwandan MTN execs citing national security – police

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KAMPALA (Reuters) – Uganda has deported a French and a Rwandan executive from telecoms group MTN, accusing them of planning to compromise national security, police said on Tuesday.

MTN Uganda, a unit of the South African telecoms firm, said its Chief Marketing Officer, Olivier Prentout, was detained at Entebbe airport on Saturday after returning from a business trip and then sent back to France.

The company said its Head of Sales and Distribution, Annie Bilenge Tabura, was arrested by security personnel as she arrived at its headquarters in Kampala on Monday morning, then deported to Rwanda.

It did not comment directly on the police accusation, but said the company and all its employees were committed to respecting and operating within Ugandan laws. There was no immediate statement from either executive.

Police said on Twitter that the pair were deported “over their engagements in acts which compromise national security.” It did not go into further details on the charges.

Last year, MTN Uganda said government security personnel had raided its data centre and disconnected four of its servers.[nL8N1U22W9]

MTN Uganda has more than 10 million subscribers and competes chiefly with India’s Bharti Airtel.

MTN’s 20-year license expired in October. The firm applied for a 10-year extension and the Uganda Communications Commission gave it an interim renewal lasting 60-days pending resolution of a number of unspecified issues before a final license is issued.

Ugandan authorities have said MTN has agreed to list its shares on Uganda’s local bourse as a condition of renewing its license, though the firm itself is yet to confirm this.

Reporting by Elias Biryabarema; Writing by Omar Mohammed; Editing by George Obulutsa and Andrew Heavens

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Godwin Okafor is a Financial Journalist, Internet Social Entrepreneur and Founder of Naija247news Media Limited. He has over 16 years experience in financial journalism. His experience cuts across traditional and digital media. He started his journalism career at Business Day, Nigeria and founded Naija247news Media in 2010. Godwin holds a Bachelors degree in Industrial Relations and Personnel Management from the Lagos State University, Ojo, Lagos. He is an alumni of Lagos Business School and a Fellow of the University of Pennsylvania (Wharton Seminar for Business Journalists). Over the years, he has won a number of journalism awards. Godwin is the chairman of Emmerich Resources Limited, the publisher of Naija247news.

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