Manager accuses MTN of snooping

2013-08-25 14:00

A suspended senior MTN manager has accused the mobile giant of tapping his phone.

Robert Madzonga, MTN SA’s chief corporate services officer, is fighting back after his suspension last week.

Madzonga has:

»?Launched an urgent Labour Court challenge to his suspension;

»?Opened a defamation case against Lily Zondo, MTN SA’s general manager of business risk;

»?Registered a grievance at company level against Zondo and MTN group chief strategy officer Karel Pienaar; and

»?Accused the company of spying on him.

Madzonga was suspended to allow for the completion of a preliminary investigation into the suspicion that he paid his lawyer friends “breathtakingly excessive” rates.

He has now hit back, accusing MTN of snooping on him.

In court papers, Madzonga says he received a call from Sunday Times journalists who wanted to meet to discuss the ICT Indaba – the event at the heart of former communications minister Dina Pule’s recent scandals.

When he agreed to meet, he immediately received a call from Zondo warning him not to attend the meeting.

Madzonga says the only way Zondo could have known about the meeting was if his phone was being tapped.

This allegation was put to MTN, but they did not comment.

His grievance and defamation cases against Zondo relate to allegations she allegedly made about him in company emails.

Madzongo says Zondo claimed he benefited financially from the controversial ICT Indaba.

Madzonga denies the claim and requested Zondo to provide evidence, or to apologise.

He says the dispute has been running since February and he had asked Pienaar to intervene, but no action had been taken and this was why he lodged a grievance against Pienaar too.

Sources close to the investigation into Madzonga told City Press this week that internal audits at MTN had uncovered more suspicious payments to other law firms.

A responding affidavit from MTN in the urgent Labour Court challenges that Madzonga launched to combat his suspension says that law firm Knowles Husain Lindsay was commissioned to do a second forensic investigation of suspicious payments in November 2012.

In the affidavit, MTN describes some of the invoices as “breathtakingly excessive”.

Madzonga denies he has done anything wrong.

MTN commented that it would be “imprudent of us to divulge further details at this stage of the process or comment on media speculation”.

Madzonga’s suspension follows hot on the heels of the resignation of MTN group’s chief financial officer, Nazir Patel, and general manager for branded retail Eleanor Potter.

Business Day reported that the company’s marketing general manager, Mike Fairon, was under scrutiny for allegedly extorting electronic products from Samsung.

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