MTN: 'We've done nothing wrong in Cameroon'

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MTN logo. (Duncan Alfreds, Fin24)
MTN logo. (Duncan Alfreds, Fin24)

Johannesburg - MTN [JSE:MTN] says it operates a clean business in Cameroon, despite that country’s anti-corruption board saying that the mobile network owes R1.5bn in taxes.

A probe by Cameroon’s National Anti-corruption Commission (CONAC) into the country’s telecoms sector claims that MTN and Orange each respectively owe nearly 52bn CFA francs (R1.5bn) and 48bn CFA francs (R1.3bn) in taxes and royalties, according to a Reuters report.

Other carriers such as Camtel and Viettel were also implicated as CONAC’s study found that a total of 176bn CFA francs (R4.9bn) had gone unpaid from various companies, Reuters reported.

But MTN says it has nothing to hide and that the company is “up to date with all its fiscal obligations in the country”.

“We’ve done nothing wrong,” MTN’s group executive for corporate affairs, Chris Maroleng, told Fin24.

"MTN Cameroon is not and has never been implicated in corruption-related action in the exercise of its activities.

"So, MTN Cameroon affirms that its interaction with the government of Cameroon and its representatives has always been transparent and in conformity with laws of the republic of Cameroon,” he said.

CONAC was established in 2006 following a presidential decree and it is a public independent body whose mission is to monitor and evaluate the country’s anti-corruption programme.

It’s unclear at this stage whether Cameroon’s government will act on CONAC’s findings. Fin24 understands that MTN is waiting to receive the report and that the company hasn’t been fined.

Meanwhile, Cameroon is one of 22 markets in the Middle East and Africa where MTN operates.

MTN has around 10 million subscribers in Cameroon, according to the company’s quarterly report for the period ending September 2015.

The emergence of the taxes report in Cameroon by CONAC also comes as MTN is fighting a $3.9bn fine in Nigeria where the company is accused of failing to disconnect five million unregistered SIM cards in a timely manner.

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