22 March 2019
Former Iranian envoy arrested on corruption charges related to MTN license in Iran found dead
South Africa’s former ambassador to Iran Yusuf Saloojee, who was arrested on corruption charges in February, has died, News24 reported, citing a community journalist. Saloojee (75) was taken in on charges related to the award of a mobile phone license to the MTN Group, after it was initially given to Turkcell Iletisim Hizmetieri, Bloomberg reported at the time. Saloojee passed away on 18 March. No details are yet known about the circumstances surrounding his death.
The retired former ambassador faced allegations that he facilitated the cancellation of the Turkcell licence by the Iranian government, which was then awarded to MTN. His role in this process allegedly scored him earnings worth ZAR 1.4 million which was then used to buy a house in Tshwane. MTN has been pursued by Turkcell since 2005 over corruption allegations related to the acquisition of a 49 percent stake in a telecom operator in Iran. MTN has always denied wrongdoing.
Icasa chairperson removed from office
Communications Minister Stella Ndabeni-Abrahams has removed Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (Icasa) chairperson and councillor Rubben Mohlaloga from office.
Mohlaloga was convicted of fraud and money laundering on 15 January 2018. He was sentenced to 20 years imprisonment by the Pretoria Specialised Commercial Crimes Court on 14 February 2019.
The Minister’s decision follows a resolution by the National Assembly resolution and it’s in accordance with section 8(3)(b) of the ICASA Act, No. 13 of 2002 (ICASA Act).
On Wednesday, the National Assembly (NA) resolved, in terms of section 8(2)(a) of the ICASA Act to remove Mohlaloga from office with immediate effect.
Last Friday, the Minister suspended Mohlaloga pending the conclusion of the National Assembly process to remove him from office following a resolution of the Portfolio Committee on Communications on the matter.
In terms of section 6(1)(j) of the ICASA Act, a Councillor who is convicted of, amongst others, fraud; is disqualified from holding office.
The Icasa Council will, as empowered by section 5 (2)(b) of the Act, elect an acting chairperson. Further, the process to appoint a new chairperson will soon commence.