MTN boss may have quit over Iran deals

Cape Town - The shock resignation of the finance chief of MTN [JSE:MTN] Nazir Patel this week apparently stems from how he allegedly broke company procedures by diverting money out of Iran through Dubai, reported the Sunday Times.

On July 22 this year MTN announced that Patel resigned with immediate effect.

Patel explained in a statement that he did not wish his continued employment with MTN to prejudice the company “in respect of certain allegations made against him”.

According to MTN Patel resigned after a preliminary investigation found numerous governance breaches on his part.

There is an ongoing investigation into matters relating to his resignation, which has been commissioned by MTN.

The investigation into Patel apparently revolves around how he allegedly broke MTN’s procedures in transferring cash out of Iran through Dubai.

MTN executive Paul Norman, however, said no illegal activity had yet been flagged.

“At this stage there is no indication that money has gone missing and it’s not as if anything that happened was illegal or broke any international sanctions," he said.

"It’s just that there are certain governance issues that may not have been followed."

MTN has faced huge problems in getting dividends out of Iran, because stringent sanctions prevent banks from moving cash easily in and out of the country.
Last year MTN Irancell collected R24bn in revenue.

Patel, who took over as chief financial officer in 2009, had served on the boards of a number of MTN subsidiaries and had also participated in several of its merger and acquisition activities.

MTN announced that it had replaced Patel with Brett Goschen, who headed its operations in Nigeria, its biggest business after South Africa.

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