Johannesburg, Feb. 21, 2019 (Reuters/NNN) South African telecoms group MTN said the head of its Iranian associate MTN Irancell is to retire, to be replaced by an academic with expertise in the sector.
MTN said Alireza Ghalambor Dezfouli, who had headed MTN Irancell since its 2005 inception, had been integral in building Irancell into the country’s largest data operator with more than 40 million customers.
He will be replaced by university professor Bijan Abbasi Arand.
Iran is one of MTN’s largest markets, but its entry into the country has been marred by allegations it used bribes to win a 15 year operating licence, estimated to be worth more than 30 billion dollars, in competition with Turkish rival Turkcell.
Abbasi’s appointment comes a week after South Africa’s former ambassador to Iran was arrested on charges he helped MTN acquire the licence in return for 1.4 million rand (100,352 dollars) which he used to purchase property.
MTN denies the allegations. It faces a 4.2 billion dollars lawsuit brought by Turkcell in South Africa over the matter.
“MTN Group thanks Dezfouli for his years of service and congratulated Dr Abbasi on his new role,” the company said in a statement. (Reuters/NNN)
Edited by Abdullahi Mohammed/Julius Toba-Jegede