Before her appointment to work in Uganda in April 2018, Annie Tabura — who lived in DR Congo as a child and went to school in Kenya — had worked at MTN Rwanda for 17 years.
Last month, she left Uganda unceremoniously along with her colleagues, French national Olivier Prentout, who was the telecom’s chief marketing officer, and Italian Elsa Mussolini, the general manager for mobile money. They were sent home for alleged breach of national security and inciting violence.
However as we write this today more detailed information has begun to leak out asthe first one has regarding how the two top MTN officials were smoked out and later deported. Ms. Annie Bilenge Tabura, A Rwandan citizen who worked as Head of Sales and Distribution and French National, Mr. Olivier Prentout, the Chief Marketing Officer, flew to Rwanda for an MTN conference in the Rwandan city of Kivu.
The information our reporters have is that after the raid on the MTN data center and siege of the four servers last year, security has been monitoring closely all clues linked to espionage. What we can reveal here is that a day before the two top MTN officials flew out, the unthinkable happened.
A top government security officer who was on his usual sexual gigs bumped on cute Rwandan sexy near Fairway. But as they did their gig, conversations ensued that something was happening in Rwanda, and present were two top MTN officials. The source whose identity we shall not reveal, didn’t take the ‘sexual gig’ conversation lightly.
He swung into action. On the morning of January 19 a combined team of security officials stormed Entebbe Airport and as Annie Tabura and Prentout landed, Prentout was detained and immediately deported. He was declared persona non grata. He wasn’t allowed to step foot in Ugandan tarmac, and deported back to France.
As for Annie Tabura, she was picked the next day from MTN Towers, taken to the SID headquarters on Kireka, interrogated and later deported. Her three children were deported the next day. Before her posting to Uganda, Annie Bilenge had worked in MTN Rwanda for 17 years.
At Least 17 More Rwandan Nationals Deported
The latest we have gathered is that not only Annie Tabura and Olivier Prentout have been deported. Shortly after these two were shown the exits of Uganda, MTNs General Manager Mobile Money, Ms. Elsa Mussolini, an Italian National was deported after she was quizzed by security for several hours.
Information then was that Mussolini was accused of facilitating the transfer of an undisclosed amount of funds to Kyadondo East Legislator, Robert Kyagulanyi, aka Bobi Wine. According to security sources who talked to our reporters, security tracked an aide of Bobi Wine whose sim-card was used to withdraw chunks of money. “We smelt a rat, because the sim-card was registered in names of a person who was an aide of Bobi Wine.
Then the withdrawals were suspicious. They would make between 4-5 withdrawals of shs4-5m daily. And this happened for 11 consecutive days,” said the security source. According to intelligence, these funds were being used to fund the People Power pressure group campaigns that were linked to Bobi Wine.
After Mussolini was shown the exit, a total of 17 other MTN staff of Rwandan origin were booked on a full bus after questioning with their families and sent packing back to Rwanda. The security source said these staff had no properly defined job description at MTN. Both MTN management and Police declined to confirm this report when contacted.
Why Is Security Tough Now?
When security raided the MTN Uganda Data Center in Mutundwe in July last year, it had received intelligence reports regarding espionage by a racket of Rwandan backed agents based here. Much as President Museveni recently made it clear that MTN was under- declaring data revenues, the story is much bigger than this.
Security had gathered prior to the siege that the Mutundwe Data center was being used to spy on Ugandans by Rwanda. Mutundwe was the spot where high profile individuals including the President’s phone calls were being tapped. Others included: the CDF Gen. David Muhozi, The President’s Son,Gen Muhoozi Kaneirugaba, CMI Chief Abel Kandiho, ISO Chief Kaka, General Salim Saleh, Security Minister General Elly Tumwine, Maj Gen Proscovia Nalweyiso, among others. Intelligence gathered that the high profile personnel had their communications and Locations monitored on an hourly basis by the telecom giant on behalf of Rwanda.
After all these deportations, the best word that we can use to describe the situation between Uganda and Rwanda at the moment is; ‘Volatile’. We can reveal here that very soon more is expected to happen. Tensions are expected to rise. although the MTN Group Chief Executive Mr. Rob Shuter met President Museveni at the just concluded World Economic Forum in Switzerland, nothing new to avert the looming crisis is expected to happen.
To show their displeasure with the deportation, Rwanda’s State Minister for East African Community Affairs Amb. Olivier Nduhungirehe, described the arrest and deportation of their national Ms. Tabura as part of “a pattern” by the Kampala administration to harass Rwandans in Uganda. “She was expelled for being a Rwandan national. Her only crime is being a Rwandan,” Amb Nduhungirehe alleged, adding that hundreds of Rwandans who travel to Uganda are being arrested and kept in non-gazetted detention centres where they are undergoing varying harassment.
In a tweet, Nduhungirehe wrote thus: “Uganda is instead becoming a haven for Rwandans dissidents, who are plotting against our country. “Apparently, walking and working in Uganda while Rwandan has become a crime. The only activities allowed for Rwandans in Uganda seem to be plotting against their country, training forces for the RNC.P5 and denouncing fellow Rwandans.
This provocation will stop at some point,” Rwanda has on numerous occasions accused Uganda of becoming a home for dissidents planning rebellious activities. Rwanda has been alleging that Uganda gives refugee status to people who harbour criminal intentions. The Rwanda National Congress (RNC), which Nduhungirehe referred to, is a political group that Kigali government has branded rebels.
While P5 is a coalition of Rwandan opposition political organisations including the Amahoro People’s Congress (AMAHORO-PC), the Forces démocratiques unifées-Inkingi (FDU INKINGI), the People’s Defence Pact-Imanzi (PDP-IMANZI), the Social Party-Imberakuri (PS IMBERAKURI) and the Rwanda National Congress (RNC). P5 is linked to Rwanda’s former military chief Kayumba Nyamwasa who is currently living in exile in South Africa. The UN Security Council in December said P5 had started recruiting combatants in South Kivu with local and external support from Burundi, Uganda and Democratic Republic of Congo.
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