South Africa’s Largest Mobile Operator MTN Accused of Bribing the Taliban, Al-Qaeda

The largest mobile telecommunications operator in Africa MTN said it was reviewing allegations stating it paid protection money to militant groups in Afghanistan.

The accusation, which was submitted as a law suit to a federal court in the United States on Friday (12/27/2019), said the company violated US antiterrorism laws.

The lawsuit was put in the name of the families of US citizens killed in the attack in Afghanistan.

Five other companies were also named in the suit, the reported Monday (30/12/2019).

The lawsuit accuses MTN of paying “security money” to Taliban and Al-Qaeda militants so that it does not need to pay more to guard their transmission towers.

The payment means helping the Taliban finances so they can launch attacks in Afghanistan between 2009 and 2017, the lawsuit accuses. Thus, MTN violates the US anti-terrorism law.

The giant South African company said it still believes that its business is carried out responsibly and in accordance with regulations in all areas of its business.

MTN is the largest cellular telecommunications operator in Africa and the eighth largest in the world, with more than 240 million subscribers.

In 2015, the company was fined more than $ 5 billion by Nigerian authorities for not cutting unregistered SIM cards. The amount of the fine was eventually reduced to only $ 1.7 billion after a long legal battle and the intervention of the then South African president, Jacob Zuma.

In February, a former South African ambassador to Iran was arrested in the capital, Pretoria, on charges of taking bribes from MTN.

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Bribery was given so that the former ambassador helped win the MTN contract in Iran worth $ 31.6 billion.