Neotel CEO Sunil Joshi quits

Johannesburg - Sunil Joshi, the chief executive officer of fixed-line telecommunications company Neotel, has resigned.

His resignation comes after an investigation by the board of the company cleared him of bribery, Neotel said on Monday.

Both Joshi and the company’s chief financial officer Steven Whiley were placed on special leave earlier this year amid an investigation into alleged bribery.

Neotel stands accused of making illicit payments of R91m in fees to a ‘letterbox company’ company called ‘Homix’, according to a report from newspaper The Mail & Guardian earlier this year.

Neotel is accused of making these payments to win a R1.8bn telecoms services contract from transport parastatal Transnet. Homix is accused of receiving the payments while not producing any work and it has untraceable directors and no clear office space.

“As a result of the investigation and with the information available to the board relating to the Homix transaction, the board has found nothing to date that implicates Mr Joshi personally in any bribery or corruption activities,” said Neotel in its statement.

“Separately, we regret to inform you that Mr Joshi has decided to pursue his own interests, and will resign from Neotel with immediate effect,” said the company.

Joshi’s resignation follows that of CFO Whiley stepping down late last month after the Neotel board’s investigation also found him to have “acted with integrity”.

Both Joshi and Whiley’s resignations come hot on the heels of the Competition Tribunal of South Africa having agreed last month to indefinitely postpone a hearing regarding a R7bn merger between Vodacom [JSE:VOD] and Neotel.

Vodacom asked for a postponement of the Tribunal hearings because it said it was exploring “a revised transaction structure” of the Neotel deal. However, the move has sparked speculation about whether the Vodacom-Neotel deal will still go ahead.

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