Vietnam’s military-run telecom giant Viettel has released information in regard to reports of the executive of its Tanzania-based subsidiary being charged with fraud and economic sabotage by prosecutors in the East African country.
Le Van Dai, managing director of Viettel-owned Halotel, and Sherif El Barbary, managing director of Zantel, were arraigned by a court in Tanzania on June 6 for their alleged involvement in a telecom fraud case, according to the Vietnamese company.
Tanzania authorities have previously caught a group of foreigners in the East African country as illegally keeping some 300,000 unregistered SIM cards, including those of Halotel and Zantel, which are believed to have been used to evade rates payable for international messages.
Dai and Barary, an Egyptian national, have been arraigned along with four others - two Chinese and two Tanzanian nationals, who are accused of conspiracy, fraud and tax evasion which have purportedly caused the government losses of about US$530,000, according to news website The EastAfrican.
The offences include using unregistered SIM cards, illegally importing and installing communications equipment, and committing fraudulent use of telecommunication networks. The equipment allowed them to illegally bypass Tanzania’s telecommunications traffic monitoring system, according to The EastAfrican.
|Halotel employees meet their customers in Tanzania. Photo: Viettel|
Viettel asserted in a statement that these are only accusations and no official court ruling has been issued for the case.
The Vietnamese company said the 300,000 unregistered SIM cards in the case were purchased by the involving foreigners from SIM dealerships in Tanzania, meaning Halotel never directly sold any of those illicit SIMs to those accused in the case.
As for the alleged offenses of importing, installing and using mobile network equipment for fraudulent purposes and bypassing local regulations, Viettel underlined that all of these actions were taken by the foreigners involving the case and has nothing do with Halotel.
“Halotel is actively working with investigative agencies [in Tanzania] to shed light to the case,” Viettel said, adding it has hired an experienced law firm to handle the case.
“Halotel has sufficient evidence to protect the rights and legal interests of Le Van Dai and the brand Halotel against all accusations by the court,” the statement reads.
Viettel inaugurated the Halotel unit in Tanzania in October 2015.