The chief executive officer (CEO) of telecommunications company MTN Uganda, Wim Vanhelleputte, was deported on Thursday night following interrogation by security officials.
This comes three weeks after the deportation of three other senior managers of the same company allegedly for security reasons.
On January 23, the Government deported Olivier Prentout (French), who was the chief marketing officer, Elsa Muzzolinni (Italian), the head of mobile financial services and Ann Tabuura (Rwandan), the general manager for sales and distribution.
Multiple sources and the Criminal Investigations Department spokesperson, Vincent Ssekate, last night confirmed the deporting of Wim Vanhelleputte to Belgium. He left the country aboard a KLM flight.
New Vision learnt that the Minister of Internal Affairs, Gen. Jeje Odongo, signed the deportation order for Vanhelleputte on Thursday after declaring him a “prohibited immigrant”.
The order directed that he be held in custody until he is deported. Vanhelleputte appeared for the third time for interrogation at the Special Investigations Unit in Kireka yesterday.
Accompanied by two lawyers, he was interrogated from 11:00am to about 3:00pm.
Thereafter, he was taken to his office where the security personnel took away his laptop. Later in the evening, he was whisked to the airport for deportation.
Sources told New Vision that detectives questioned him about issues related to threatening national security.
He was also grilled over reports that MTN sponsored hooligans and opposition Members of Parliament to oppose the mobile money tax.
Security personnel were particularly interested in knowing whether MTN data is archived outside Uganda and whether there is any external company contracted to handle data management on behalf of MTN.
On July 2, last year, Internal Security Organisation (ISO) raided MTN’s Mutundwe data offices over security concerns.
His deportation also comes hardly a week after MTN fired its long-serving general manager in charge of business and head of legal, Anthony Katamba, who also separately appeared at the Special Investigations Unit on Thursday.
Amidst these investigations and deportations, MTN’s management gave assurances to the Government that the company was not involved in politics and espionage.