South Africa’s Special Investigating Unit (SIU) is preparing to open a probe into allegations of corruption and maladministration at operator Telkom South Africa, focused on international divisions divested more than eight years ago.
The SIU announced President Cyril Ramaphosa authorised the investigation, with the authority able to recover any losses for the state, which holds an almost 40 per cent stake in Telkom.
Its investigation will centre on Telkom’s sale of iWayAfrica and Africa Online Mauritius, which happened in one transaction during late 2013; and the divestment of Multi-Links Telecommunications in 2011, though the potential range of the probe is wider.
SIU stated it is set to look into “allegations of corruption and maladministration in the affairs of Telkom…and to recover any financial losses”.
The probe comes on the heels of a long legal tussle between Telkom and the industry regulator, ICASA first other emergency spectrum and then over spectrum auction in South Africa. It is therefore being viewed by industry watchers as payback by the state.
Meanwhile, in a stock market statement, Telkom exlained it was awaiting further details on the scope of the investigation, having already disclosed various matters relating to the transactions.
“Telkom follows robust corporate governance principles and has done so in executing the Telkom strategy to consolidate its operations in South Africa. The aforementioned matters date back to as far as 2006 and have been repeatedly reported on in respective Telkom reports.”
“Matters surrounding the Multi-Links Telecommunications Limited transaction have been reported on previously and certain related issues have been dealt with in various courts with different jurisdictions in South Africa.”
SIU is an independent investigating body, which is instructed by the country’s authorities to conduct probes related to corruption.