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Iran bribe claim: Saloojee gets job back

Oct 23 2012 15:41 AFP

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Johannesburg - South Africa has reinstated an ambassador accused of receiving bribes linked to the licensing of an Iranian mobile phone network, the foreign ministry said on Tuesday.

Yusuf Saloojee was recalled in July after it emerged that he allegedly received a bribe of $200 000 in return for helping telecommunications firm MTN secure the contract in 2005, while he was ambassador to Tehran.

The Department of International Relations and Cooperation said Saloojee's return to his subsequent posting, in Oman, was temporary, "pending the finalisation of an ongoing internal investigation".

"The department views the allegations in a serious light, hence the investigation," a statement said.

The ministry did not divulge the details of the probe, saying "such disclosure may also compromise employer-employee privilege".

Turkey's Turkcell, which lost out in the competition, alleges that MTN paid bribes to secure the deal. The company has instituted a $4.2bn lawsuit against MTN in a US court.

It claims it had already won the deal through an international tender, but its licence arrangement was suddenly dropped in favour of MTN.

MTN is South Africa's largest telecommunications company, present in a number of African countries including Uganda, Ghana and the Democratic Republic of Congo.

mtn  |  yusuf saloojee  |  iran
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