23 January 2019

Uganda Deports Another MTN Executive

Photo: The Guardian
MTN store (file photo).

Uganda has deported another telecom provider MTN's executive, an Italian national, accused of inciting violence.

Ms Elsa Mussolini was cast out on Tuesday evening just hours after the government evicted a Rwandan and a Frenchman, both executives of MTN.

According to the police, Ms Mussolini was grilled for at least four hours over the alleged incitement to violence.

She is the MTN's general manager mobile money.

Ms Mussolini and her colleague, Mr Anthony Katamba, the general manager corporate services and chief legal counsel, were summoned and grilled separately by detectives from the Directorate of Criminal Investigations.

In the summons letter, DCI deputy director in charge of special investigations, Mr Elly Womanya, said the authorities were probing "alleged incitement to violence contrary to section 51 & 83 Penal Code Act" in which "some employees of MTN (U) Ltd are a subject of these investigations."

While Ms Mussolini was deported, the fate of Mr Katamba, a Ugandan, remains unclear.

Probe ongoing

Police spokesperson Fred Enanga confirmed Ms Mussolini's deportation to Italy without giving details of the alleged crime.

"A decision has been taken to deport Ms Mussolini for incitement to violence," Mr Enanga said.

"Investigations are still ongoing on why they participated in incitement to violence," adding that there are "several leads that they are following in this case."

On Monday, Ugandan authorities deported Rwandan national Annie Bilenge Tabura, a general manager sales and distribution, and a Frenchman Olivier Prentout, the chief marketing officer.

MTN said in a statement Tuesday that Ms Tabura was arrested by unidentified security officers at their office in Kampala on Monday morning, while Mr Prentout had been arrested by police at Entebbe airport on Sunday, soon after he returned from a business trip.

The two were accused of undermining state security with police saying that they "were using their employment as tools to achieve their ill motives."

The unit of MTN South Africa, is the leading telecom provider Uganda.

In July last year, its data centre was raided by agents said to be from Uganda's domestic intelligence unit.

At the time, the telco denied reports that it was being investigated over breach of national security and tax evasion.

More searches

Police sources told the Daily Monitor on Tuesday that they are looking for more MTN employees suspected to have participated in inciting violence.

It is however not clear why the suspects were not arraigned for their alleged crimes.

Here is what section 51 & 83 of Uganda's Penal Code Act states:

51. Incitement to violence.

(1) Any person who, without lawful excuse, prints, publishes or to any assembly makes any statement indicating or implying that it would be incumbent or desirable--

(a) to do any acts calculated to bring death or physical injury to any person or to any class or community of persons; or

(b) to do any acts calculated to lead to destruction or damage to any property, commits an offence and is liable to imprisonment for three years.

(2) A person shall not be prosecuted for an offence under this section without the written consent of the Director of Public Prosecutions.

(3) For the purpose of this section, "assembly" means a gathering of three or more persons.

83. Incitement to violence.

(1) Any person who incites any other person to do an act of violence against any person by reason of his or her race, place of origin, political opinions, colour, creed or sex or office commits an offence and is liable on conviction to imprisonment for a term not exceeding 14 years.

(2) For the purposes of subsection (1), "office" means the office of a Minister of the Government, a member of Parliament or a councillor, a public office, employment in the service of the administration of a district or the council or board of a municipality or town, any religious office and employment as a director, officer or other official in or by anybody corporate established by or under the auspices of or controlled by the Government.

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