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Uncertainty, tension over MTN Uganda deportations

Speculation, tension over MTN Uganda deportations

Ugandan authorities have arrested and deported MTN Uganda head of sales and distribution Annie Bilenge Tabura, and the company's chief marketing officer Olivier Prentout.

MTN Uganda issued a statement confirming the development, but offered no additional information.

The statement said Tabura was arrested by unidentified security personnel upon arrival at the company's headquarters on Saturday while returning from MTN Group meeting in Rwanda.

"Both Mr. Prentout and Ms Tabura have been deported from Uganda to their home countries, France and Rwanda respectively. MTN Uganda together with all employees, remain fully committed to operating within- and respecting the laws of the country," the statement read.

Tabura's deportation has resulted in tension between Rwanda and Uganda with Rwanda's Kampala Mission accusing Uganda of deporting several of its nationals under unclear circumstances.

Authorities in Uganda have to date not offered any explanations for the deportations.

Rwanda's High Commissioner to Uganda Major General Frank Mugambage confirmed that he had corresponded with the Ugandan government regarding the deportations, but received no response.

The deportations has come at a time when the Ugandan authorities are still dragging their feet to renew the company's operating licence which expired in 2018.

In October 2 last year, Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni wrote to the Uganda Communication Commission (UCC) demanding to know why the fees for renewal of MTN Uganda's operating licence had been reduced from the original US$100-million to US$58-million.

In the same letter, Museveni said his government was aware that MTN Uganda was under-declaring its profits and repatriating them.

MTN is Uganda's largest operator with over 10 million subscribers.

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