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Govt still looking for information to respond to Deported MTN CEO’s case

MTN Uganda Chief Executive Officer, Belgian Wim Vanhelleputte was unceremoniously deported in February 2019. (FILE PHOTO)

KAMPALA – The State Attorney Kodoli Wanyama has Wednesday, March 27, told court that they are still looking for information in relevant departments and authorities to respond to the application by deported MTN Cheif Executive Officer (CEO) Wim Joris Vanhelleputte that is seeking to quash his deportation.

This has been communicated by Justice Henrietta Wolayo who adjourned the case to April 11, to hear the application.

Last month Mr. Vanhelleputte dragged the Attorney General to court, challenging his deportation as being irrational and illegal.

In his law suit filed before the High Court Civil Division, Mr. Vanhellepute is seeking orders to quash his deportation following an order issued by the Internal Affairs minister Gen.  Jeje Odongo on February 14, 2019.

Mr. Vanhelleputte says that he was in charge of the overall operations and overseeing MTN company affairs in Uganda and ensuring proper management and functioning of the company.

“I have been a regular visitor to Uganda since 1993 until when I got married and also settled in Uganda where me and the family have been living at Lubowa, Makindye Ssabagabo, Wakiso District until my deportation from Uganda to Belgium,” he says in his affidavit.

Mr. Vanhelleputte says that he has been CEO of MTN and other telecommunication companies since October 2001 in various countries like Ivory Coast, Senegal and Gabon amongst others and over the years while working abroad, he has been visiting his family in Uganda every month.

According to him, the deportation order labelled him as an undesirous and prohibited immigrant yet he has been a law-abiding citizen and has no trace of a criminal record for the 25 years he has lived in Uganda.

According to court documents, Mr. Vanhelleputte says that on January 29, 2019, he was summoned by the Special Investigations Unit at Kireka and accused of communicating to the deported MTN staff, to which he was also asked to record a statement.

The former MTN CEO says he was then ordered to report back at SIU on February 14, 2019 but despite explanations to police that he needed to communicate to the deported staff because they had not yet officially handed over office,   he was simply detained, drove to Entebbe Airport, and handed over to aviation security and at 11. 59 pm, was deported through an SN Brussels Flight.

Mr. Vanhellepute claims he was neither given an opportunity to explain himself to minister Odongo before signing the Order that declared him unwanted in Uganda nor communicate to his Ugandan wife Ms. Barbra Adoso and 2 children.

He contends further that court should intervene and recall his unlawful deportation because he had a valid work permit and a running visa which was due to expire in May this year.

Through his lawyers of Birungi and company advocates he is also demanding for damages from government for violating his rights to a fair hearing, just treatment and illegal detention.

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