Belgian telecoms CEO kicked out of Uganda

The Belgian CEO of the Ugandan division of the mobile telecoms provider MTN has been forced to leave the African country. A number of Ugandan media report that Wim Van Helleputte was deported on Thursday. Mr Van Helleputte’s deportation has been confirmed by his employer MTN.   

On its Facebook page MTN writes that it has not been informed as to why the Belgian has been deported and adds that the company is doing all it can to find out why the Ugandan authorities decided to make Mr Van Helleput leave their country.   

However, a police spokesman told the Amercian business news channel Bloomberg that the deportation was carried out for reason of national security.

The government controlled newspaper ‘New Vision’ writes that Mr Van Helleputte was questioned for four hours on Thursday morning by the police, military intelligence and anti-terrorist officers.  

The Ugandan news site ChimpReports writes that Mr Van Helleputte was escorted to Entebbe Airport in handcuffs. A number of Ugandan websites report that a number of other foreigners that work in senior positions at MTN’s Ugandan operation have been forced to leave the country over the past five weeks.

MTN is based in the South African city of Johannesburg and is almost exclusively active in African countries. With 10 million customers MTN is the largest mobile phone network provider in Uganda.