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Hawks probe Zim MTN boss

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JOHANNESBURG — Suspended Zimbabwean MTN corporate services executive Robert Madzonga is being investigated by the Hawks, a South African Sunday paper has claimed.

The paper alleged Madzonga was being investigated for his role in the ICT indaba sponsorship that has sunk the political career of former South African Communications minister Dina Pule.

She was fired as minister in July and the next month was made to apologise for lying to Parliament.

Pule was found guilty by Parliament’s ethics committee of failing to disclose her relationship with businessman Phosane Mngqibisa.

Mngqibisa’s company, Khemano Events, was paid R6 million for helping to stage the event.

The police’s serious economic offences unit has written to MTN’s general manager of business risk management Lily Zondo, asking for personal information on Madzonga.

“This office is conducting an investigation on the alleged fraud and corruption relating the ICT indaba conference. MTN also made contributions to sponsor the event,” the letter reads.

Hawks spokesman Paul Ramaloko said: “I can confirm that the case you are enquiring about is one of our projects, but I cannot disclose the nature of the allegations or individuals involved until someone has appeared in court.”

In another twist, Zondo and her lawyers have made a deal with the police that she will appear in court on a date to be confirmed.

Zondo was to have been arrested last week, but her lawyers and the police had agreed that she would hand herself over yesterday.

She was sought in connection with an extortion case opened by Madzonga in September, of which Zondo was alleged to be the mastermind.

Two people were arrested in September after a sting in which Madzonga allegedly gave them R50 000.

The two were said to have demanded R300 000 from Madzonga in return for putting an end to MTN investigations of his activities.

The pair had claimed that they worked for the Hawks and the National Intelligence Agency.

Sandton police spokeswoman captain Kym Cloete said: “The case is still under investigation and there has been no summons issued as yet.”

Madzonga has laughed off the Hawks investigation, saying the letter from the elite police unit did not look genuine.

“It was sent to Lily and not to MTN South Africa; that alone is suspicious.

“The Hawks don’t investigate a person from news reports. One would have to lodge a complaint with them,” said Madzonga.

MTN has denied knowledge of an investigation of Madzonga’s activities by the Hawks.

“Madzonga remains on special leave,” said spokeswoman Bridget Bhengu.

But Madzonga is adamant that MTN is aware of the investigation.

“I sent an e-mail to the CEO (Sifiso Dabengwa) telling him that I believe there are people from the Hawks who are in discussions with Lily.”

— Sunday World

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