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Female Employees Expose Sexual Assault, Victimization, Fraudulent Activities In MTN Nigeria 

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March 03, (THEWILL) – Some staff members of telecommunications company, MTN Nigeria, have exposed massive corrupt practices including sexual harassment and victimization of workers, allegedly  being perpetuated in the company.

According to an exclusive report by SaharaReporters, among the perpetrators is the firm’s Chief Sales and Distribution Officer, Adekunle Adebiyi; General Manager, Northern Regional Operations, Amina Dambatta; and some other senior officers of the organisation.

The female employees, who hid their identities and only identified themselves as ‘The Anonymous Whistle Blowers,’ accused Adebiyi of being a sexual predator who used his position in the company to sleep with young female employees in a series of emails and documents sent to MTN Group’s headquarters in South Africa between April 2021 and February 2022.

The employees claimed that Adebiyi had been exploiting his position to place relatives and friends in critical positions at the telecommunications company, despite the fact that they lacked the necessary educational qualifications and expertise.

The whistleblowers also accused the Chief Sales and Distribution Officer of inflating contracts, accepting payments, and fabricating phony sales numbers in order to fool business management and preserve his desired position.

Despite his severe misconducts and acts of corruption and sabotage against MTN Group, Adebiyi had the full support of MTN Nigeria Chief Executive Officer Karl Toriola and other key executives, the employees alleged.

In some of the emails sent to Nerisha Singh, General Manager, Forensic Services of MTN Group, the aggrieved employees said, “We are writing because the man, Adekunle Adebiyi, who heads sales, is a dangerous threat to your company. We wish men like Adekunle Adebiyi will not destroy MTN Nigeria. You left a monster and sexual predator to continue in office but after one year, we can no longer be silenced by his continued intimidation.

“Many of us became victims of his boastful abuses and direct punishments. Three persons resigned in S&D through his intimidations and threats. Kumar Abubakar, a resourceful Senior Manager, was fired by him and Amina, his GM in the North, on trumped-up charges because Kumar knows all their fake and forged gross connections, numbers and sales figures. They know he would expose them to forensics.

“Sales conferences are always his grounds for his sexual escapades where he uses his front and power to lure young innocent MTNNers levels 1, 2, 3, vulnerable girls into sex.

“Your sexual harassment policy is not protecting levels 1, 2 or 3 or young girls. They are victims of Adekunle Adebiyi’s sexual harassment. They can’t talk or report him because they will lose their jobs. We have many cases reported to close friends instead of HR because they don’t trust HR.

“His bribery and corruption with NIMC Nigeria, collecting money from vendors through his fronts and flooding MTN Nigeria with his family and friends as SIM registration agents have continued.

“Adekunle is a bad egg. His corruption is beyond imagination. One of our anonymous members shared a message from him to a finance staff member compelling them to pre-pay a vendor for a big contract, so he can collect his bribes upfront.

“He gives contracts to vendors abroad at higher costs because of money they want to collect as bribes. Procurement staff and Finance team know this but could not report until some of them joined this “whistleblower” group. Yet they are still afraid because our jobs are threatened by these men who work for Adekunle.

“Check the employments of his many relatives, especially of Ekundayo Fatoki, Customer Acquisition Manager. He failed interviews but Adekunle and his cohorts brought him in re-conducting the interviews two times or more times. The two ladies he sexually harassed are now afraid, too, to come with proof because our jobs are not safe. We are scared and our lives are at risk. Adekunle and his cohorts are powerful and can exterminate us if they have to.

“Two board of directors are his men. Cyril Ilok, head of forensics, is his womanising and drinking partner, who will never allow all the petitions from the staff to go through investigations.

“He takes bribes from vendors and settles his “boys and girls” in all the units he carries out fraudulent activities, including procurement. Four years ago he fired Daniel and Bukola because they know his secrets about fraudulent activities in all the procurements deals for MTN.

“The people had videos of when his fronts collected the money as bribes unfortunately, they were threatened and fired. The two former staff members are still alive if you want to investigate.

“He virtually uses his fronts and his friends to pitch all the works for customer acquisitions, supplies of MTN airtime and merchandising from the time he was acting as sales and distribution executive till now, money running into billions of naira.

“He can continue to tell lies to Enzo Scarcella, the Group Chief Consumer Officer, his team or Jens in South Africa or even the COO in Nigeria; we know he is a fraudulent man with figures.

“He has boasted to vendors and trade partners as long as Cyril Ilok and Karl Toriola are in MTN Nigeria, nothing will happen to him.

“As at today, MTN Nigeria has over eight court cases of former trade partners Adebiyi removed or terminated their appointments in manners that left a lot to be desired.

“Fire or remove Adekunle Adebiyi before you pay another fine or get into Nigeria’s murky waters.”

However, in another email addressed to the leadership of MTN Nigeria and MTN Group in South Africa on Thursday, the aggrieved workers alleged that a cabal run by the aforementioned officers operating in different regions of the country had grossly violated the rights of workers by stifling their voices and victimising them for daring to complain about certain anomalies they notice within the system.

The email partly reads, “We, the concerned staff of Sales and Distribution Division in the Northern region of Nigeria, write to bring to the attention of MTN Group and MTN Nigeria Communication Plc’s Board, Management, Risk and Compliance division about key conflict of interest, fraudulent activities, sexual harassment and threat of dismissal that has continued to be pervasive in the Northern region. Due to fear of victimisation, staff in the North are too afraid to speak.

“The General Manager, Northern Regional Operations, Amina Dambatta, runs a cabal made up of her, Abdulhamid Hassan (Senior Manager in Sales and Distribution) and Hamza Ibrahim (recently appointed Senior Manager in Sales and Distribution). Amina and her cabal including Adekunle Adebiyi, Chief Sales and Distribution Officer, have interests in some trade partner companies in the Northern region. This makes her compromise, thereby placing other partners at a competitive disadvantage.

“Here is an example: in the Sokoto area, Munifaz, Gobir Jega and Amali are three dealerships in Sokoto, Kebbi and Zamfara states and they are all owned by the same person and Amina has interests in all three.

“She and Adekunle Adebiyi facilitated the granting of dealerships to the same person under three different names, disguising themselves as different persons against MTN conflict of interest policy. The owner of this company has also not declared to MTN that he is the owner of these three competing companies.

“Nobody ever questioned why Amina and Adebiyi approved for one person to own three different dealerships without it being declared to MTN Nigeria for transparency.

“This conflict of interest that Amina and Adebiyi have is the reason why Gobir Jega and Munifaz got away with fraud. Their staff defrauded MTN Nigeria to the tune of N17 million and N13 million respectively but they were treated with a mere slap on the wrist.

“Amina insisted on giving a waiver of 50% on the total amount to be recovered. How can a waiver be granted in fraud recovery? When that was not approved by Legal, Amina recommended a payment plan of 10 years.

“Why would someone defraud MTN and they are given 10 years to pay back when they should be delisted/dismissed and asked to pay immediately? Why are they being retained as dealers?

“Another area of conflict is that BENJEE is the trade partner in Sokoto and Kebbi states and this is owned by Amina and Kunle Adebiyi. The same people also own Nagwari Ltd, a customer acquisition partner in the three states.

“The entire S and D staff in Sokoto, Kebbi and Zamfara are aware of this but they are too afraid to speak up as they are constantly being threatened with disciplinary hearing or redeployment to states with security challenges. Nobody wants to be redeployed to such states, so they stay mute.

“These trade partners where Amina and others have interest earn tens of millions each month. They earn more than other partners and they don’t contribute as much as the others in terms of gross connection, revenue etc. Why the unfairness?

“Other partners in the region feel there isn’t a level playing field as preferences are given to the dealers and CAPs that Amina and Adekunle Adebiyi and Abdulhamid have interest in. The other partners cannot run to Amina because rather than being an unbiased umpire, she sees them as competitors because they are competing with CAPs and dealers where she has a stake.

“This conflict of interest is not declared, so it is hurting the business. Some of these dealers are making plans to report this conflict of interest and corruption issues to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and the Nigerian Stock Exchange.

“Another complaint we want to make is in the area of gross connection. The partners and CAPs where Amina has interest engage in fraudulent gross connection activities. This is called kitchen activation. They buy SIM cards at N50, register them using a few people, load N3 to do chargeable activity and they will automatically earn N180 for each SIM. They do this with thousands of SIM cards daily and when they are done, they earn millions for gross connection. A month or two after, these SIM cards will be seen as having churned out of the network. Then they go back to the same circle, earning millions for fraudulent practices.

“All managers and above that resigned or took VSS in S and D in the North in the past three years left because they questioned these practices and were victimised.”

The anonymous group also alleged that a senior male staff member of the company is in the habit of sexually harassing female workers.

“Yet another complaint is that some ladies are being sexually harassed by Abdulhamid Hassan, a Senior Manager in S and D in Abuja. If they refuse to submit, they are posted to distant locations far from their families.

“Has anyone wondered why there are constant redeployments in the North, especially Abuja axis? Risk and Compliance should interview all female levels 1 and 2 staff in S and D within Abuja and the North to ask about their experiences.

“A lady called Rabi in S and D in Northern region had to resign because she was being sexually harassed by Abdulhamid. She told colleagues that she would rather quit the job than to submit. Even though she has left, Risk and Compliance should speak with her and investigate the matter.

“Over a year ago, a senior manager in Abuja named Auwal Abdullahi made a comment during a Northern region meeting as an employee council representative. He said that the staff were not happy with Amina’s management style. Amina was unhappy with the comment. She lashed out at him verbally in the meeting. Afterwards, his relative who was then a staff member in S and D named Maryam Bashir was targeted and dismissed.

“Hamza Ibrahim, the recently appointed Senior Manager in Kano, was promoted against due process. He came second at an interview many years ago and was placed on Keep-In-View, which is only valid for a year. But nearly three years later, the expired KIV is activated to favour him against other staff, who have a right to apply for the same job if it had been open for application as required by policy. This needs to be investigated.

“We urge the business to investigate these allegations we have made to verify our claims. We do hope our concerns will be addressed as these are big risks to the business.”

However, attempts to reached out to the spokesperson for MTN Nigeria, Funsho Aina, on Thursday over the over the revelations by aggrieved workers of the telecommunications company, failed, as Aina declined comments.