April 11, 2019 / 1:25 PM / 3 months ago

UPDATE 2-Vodacom Tanzania pleads guilty, settles charges against CEO, employees

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By Fumbuka Ng’wanakilala

DAR ES SALAAM, April 11 (Reuters) - Vodacom Tanzania has agreed terms for the release of its chief executive and four other employees following their arrests last week, it said on Thursday, including a 5.28 billion shilling ($2.29 million) payment to the government.

Last week, local authorities charged Hisham Hendi and other Vodacom Tanzania executives with economic crimes.

Earlier on Thursday, they appeared in court to answer charges of permitting the use of network services without authorisation and causing loss of revenue to the government.

“We pleaded guilty, we had a plea bargain with the Director of Public Prosecutions and we pleaded guilty,” said Rosalynn Mworia, Vodacom Tanzania’s Director of Corporate Affairs.

Principal Magistrate Huruma Shaidi of Dar es Salaam Magistrate Court of Kisutu said the accused intended to avoid paying taxes to the government.

“Also, we cannot downplay the security issues for running a network without being monitored,” he said.

Vodacom Tanzania, which is a subsidiary of South Africa’s Vodacom Group, itself a subsidiary of Vodafone Group Plc, is Tanzania’s leading telecom company by number of mobile subscribers, with about 32 percent of the country’s 40 million mobile subscribers.

“In accordance with international best practice, Vodacom Group and Vodafone Group Plc have retained the highly respected global law firm, Squire Patton Boggs, to conduct an internal review into the facts underlying the charges,” Vodacom Tanzania said in a statement on Thursday. ($1 = 2,310.0000 Tanzanian shillings) (Reporting by Fumbuka Ng’wanakilala; Additional reporting by Nuzulack Dausen; Writing by Omar Mohammed; Editing by Jan Harvey and Kirsten Donovan)

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