MTN Turkcell allegations may be investigated by Public Protector

Allegations that network operator MTN unduly influenced SA’s foreign policy could be investigated by the Public Protector, Advocate Thuli Madonsela says.

Speaking on the sidelines of an anti-corruption conference on Stellenbosch on Tuesday, Madonsela quipped: “I hope I am not asked to as it seems to be a very complex case.”

She said no one had approached her to investigate, although the Pubic Protector has the right to initiate a probe on its own.

“The Prevention and Combatting of Corrupt Activities Act read with the Public Protectors Act would allow us to investigate. We could also use the resources of the police and carry on with an investigation where they have left off,” she said.

Madonsela said that while her ambit was mainly to investigate charges of corruption and maladministration within the public sector, it did also include the private sector especially if the allegations included influencing or bribing state officials.

Last week Democratic Alliance MP David Maynier wrote to the SA Police Service’s Directorate of Priority Crimes Investigations (Hawks) requesting them to investigate allegations made by a Turkish telecommunications group that MTN bribed SA and Iranian officials in order to obtain a $2.4 billion licence in Iran.

Turkcell Iletism filed a case against MTN in a US court alleging that MTN influenced the SA vote at the International Atomic Energy Agency concerning Iran’s nuclear programme that some countries such as the US, Britain and Israel claim is to make bombs.

MTN has instigated its own inquiry and has appointed SA-born Lord Lenny Hoffman to head it.

MTN was last seen trading at R130.70, R1.71 or 1.33% higher than Monday’s closing price on the JSE.

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MTN Turkcell allegations may be investigated by Public Protector