15 February 2019

South Africa: Former RSA Ambassador Arrested for Alleged Foreign Bribery

Photo: Daily Trust
press release

Pretoria — Former ambassador to Iran Yusuf Saloojee (75) was arrested by the Hawks on Thursday, 14 February 2019 and subsequently made a brief court appearance at the Johannesburg Specialised Commercial Crimes Court on the same day facing charges of corruption.

Saloojee has been a subject of the Hawks' Serious Corruption Investigation unit following allegations that he allegedly partook in deceitful corrupt activities with Iranian officials after Turkcell Consortium was awarded a lucrative Global System for Mobile (GSM) to operate in Iran for 15-years. MTN reportedly came second in the deal which was said to worth approximately US$31,6 billion.

Saloojee was allegedly involved facilitating the reversal or cancellation of a cell phone operating licence awarded to a Turkish mobile company Turkcell by the government of Iran which was later handed to MTN South Africa.

Saloojee allegedly pocketed R1.4 Million for his role, the money was deposited into an account of a firm of attorneys. The alleged payment was used towards the purchase of a house in Pretoria. Meanwhile the court has granted the retired former ambassador R4000 bail and the matter has been postponed to the 17th of April 2019, for representations.

The investigation into the phase that deals with the MTN Consortium is not yet finalised. A search and seizure was conducted in June 2018. Investigations continue.

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