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MTN Benin's CEO forced to exit country

MTN Benin's CEO forced to exit country

MTN Benin's CEO Stephen Blewett has been ordered to leave the country by 24 November by its government, according to a media statement issued by the operator on 17 November.

The statement confirmed that Blewett received instruction by authorities to leave and the reason given to the company is because of engagement in "activities detrimental to security and public order."

Although MTN stated that the CEO would abide by the request and leave by the deadline stipulated, it refuted the allegations.

"Since commencing his tenure as CEO of MTN in Benin, Mr Blewett has discharged his duties as directed by MTN Group with the utmost integrity and in accordance with the laws of Benin. He has also been an active member of Benin's community and has formed strong bonds with the people of that country, whose traditions and culture he enjoyed sharing since his arrival in 2015."

The company expressed its commitment to the people of Benin and said as the largest mobile network in that country, its focus remains "on delivering the best quality products and services to our customers."

Earlier this month the MTN Group confirmed that its operation in Benin had received notification from local telecoms industry regulator ARCEP of its intention to probe the company over outstanding invoices related to frequency fees for 2016 and 2017.

According a statement, on 30 March 2017 the government issued invoices amounting to US$213 million for the period March 2016 to December 2017.

The operator's Benin business forms part of the WECA region.

According to the Group's quarterly update for the period ended 30 September 2017, SIM registration and regulatory requirements impacted on its group subscriber total, and it experienced a 0.7% quarter-on-quarter decline to 230,2 million.

The company could not divulge any further information and said Blewett remains an employee and negotiations with authorities are ongoing.

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