MTN has released the findings of the Lord Hoffmann committee it set up to review the allegations made by Turkcell in the legal case brought against MTN in the United States.
Following a year-long investigation, Lord Hoffmann has presented the Committee’s findings to the MTN Board today (1 February 2013).
According to MTN, Lord Hoffmann’s Committee has determined that the Turkcell allegations are without foundation.
“Lord Hoffmann concluded that he found nothing in the conduct of MTN over this period that puts at question MTN’s integrity or propriety,” MTN said.
“This is a reassuring validation of MTN’s culture and ethical business practices. The Board is particularly pleased to note Lord Hoffmann’s categorical findings that the allegations against MTN’s former Group President and CEO Phuthuma Nhleko and MTN‘s former Commercial Director Irene Charnley were baseless.”
“Allegations of complicity against the Chairman and the Group President and CEO Sifiso Dabengwa were similarly found to be without substance.”
The Hoffmann report made the following findings:
- There was no conspiracy between MTN and Iranian officials to remove Turkcell from the successful consortium;
- There was no promise on the part of MTN to get the South African government to supply defence equipment to Iran or to support Iran’s nuclear policy at the IAEA;
- There were no sham loans to Sairan and the Bonyad;
- MTN paid nothing to Ambassador Saloojee and neither Mr Phuthuma Nhleko, the then CEO of MTN, nor Mrs Irene Charnley (until March 2007 the MTN director with responsibility for Iran) authorized Mr Kilowan to promise him anything;
- Neither Mr Nhleko nor Mrs Charnley approved a payment which they knew to be intended for Mr Ghorbanoghli. On 4 April 2007 a subsidiary of MTN made a payment of US$400,000 into the personal account of a Mr Mousa Hosseinzadeh, a business partner of Mr Kilowan who had been introduced to him by Mr Ghorbanoghli.
- The Hoffmann Committee determined that the evidence of both Mr Kilowan and Mr Hosseinzadeh was unreliable, and was thus unable to determine what happened to this money. The payment was made on an invoice from Aristo Oil International Limited, of which Mr Hosseinzadeh is a director, for consultancy services, apparently countersigned by Mr Nhleko, but the Hoffmann Committee found that there is evidence (including expert handwriting analysis) to suggest that Mr Nhleko’s signature was a forgery; and
- Consequently, the allegations made by Turkcell against Mr Nhleko, Mrs Charnley and members of the MTN Board and senior management, including the chairman, Mr Cyril Ramaphosa, and the current CEO, Mr Sifiso Dabengwa, who were all alleged to be complicit in the actions of Mr Nhleko and Mrs Charnley, are false.
In reaching these findings, following a critical examination of the evidence, the Hoffmann Committee found that Turkcell’s allegations are “a fabric of lies, distortions and inventions”, the report said.
MTN said that is has accepted Lord Hoffmann’s recommendation that his report be published in full.
The report and a video of Lord Hoffmann delivering the Executive Summary of the Committee’s report are available on the MTN website.
The Turkcell vs MTN court battle is currently on hold, pending a U.S. Supreme Court ruling whether the case can be heard in a US court.