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Showing posts with label Mogapi Tebogo. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Mogapi Tebogo. Show all posts

Wednesday, 24 August 2011


The American Embassy in Swaziland has accused King Mswati III of interfering in the sale of shares of cellphone company MTN – so he could buy them himself at a cheaper rate.

The King, sub-Saharan Africa’s last absolute monarch, caused the ousting of Tebogo Mogapi, the MTN chief executive officer (CEO) in Swaziland, the embassy says.

Wikileaks has released a cable from the American Embassy in Swaziland to the State Department in Washington dated 9 October 2009. The cable marked ‘sensitive’ also claims that Mogapi did not have his work permit renewed (thereby meaning he had to give up his job and leave the kingdom) because he opposed the Swaziland Government’s ‘efforts to use the MTN network for surveillance on political dissidents’.

The cable written by the US Ambassador to Swaziland, Earl Irvine, says, ‘Royal politics and King Mswati's business interests appear to have caused the ouster of Mobile Telephone Network (MTN) CEO Tebogo Mogapi and halted parastatal Swaziland Post and Telecommunications Corporation (SPTC) from selling the MTN shares it owns to raise money for a Next Generation Networks (NGN)cell phone project.

‘Industry and press observers privately indicated that the king, who already owns many MTN shares, had wanted to purchase the MTN shares himself at a cheaper price than the buyer, MTN, was offering SPTC.

‘Government officials later prevented the sale, and recently did not renew the work permit for CEO Mogapi, a South African citizen, apparently in retaliation for his role in the transaction, as well as the CEO's reported decision to oppose government efforts to use the MTN network for electronic surveillance on political dissidents.’

The cable goes on, ‘The government's halt of parastatal SPTC's sale of MTN shares demonstrates the impact the king's and other influential individuals' private business interests can have on business transactions in Swaziland.

‘Government officials would likely prefer a more malleable Swazi CEO at MTN who would cooperate more fully with royal and government wishes.’

To read the full cable click here.

See also


Friday, 21 August 2009


I laughed like a drain when I read that MTN Swaziland, the kingdom’s only provider of cell phone services, claimed that it offered its customers ‘absolute privacy’ when they made calls.

Tebogo Mogapi, MTN chief executive went so far as to say, ‘Bugging of people’s phones is not happening on the MTN network and it is not possible for someone to bug a phone on our network.’

Sorry, but bugging a cell phone is comparatively easy and Mogapi must know that. If he doesn’t he shouldn’t be chief executive of a phone service provider. If, as I suspect, he does know this why is he trying to mislead his customers?

Part of the answer is found in the new Electronics Bill presently making its way through the Swaziland Parliament.

The bill would allow Swazi security services to tap phones if it can get a court order.

The Swazi Observer, the newspaper in effect owned by King Mswati III, sub-Saharan Africa’s last absolute monarch, was at pains to reassure readers their liberties were not under threat.

It quoted Mogapi saying MTN had ‘streamlined how the police can access information if they were investigating a serious matter’. However, he said MTN would allow police access, but only if they had a court order. So, not much of a protection there then.

The court order is irrelevant. In the modern age, you don’t need permission to bug someone’s cell phone; the technology is there for people to do it quite easily.

Mogapi, who remember is chief executive of MTN, doesn’t seem to have heard about this. He told the Observer, ‘We understand that there’s software available that could go into your number and duplicate messages, but it hasn’t been demonstrated to me yet.’

Where has he been hiding? There are numerous accounts of cell phone tapping from across the world. In 2007 a UK newspaper journalist Clive Goodman made international news when he was jailed for reporting the private phone calls of Prince Charles and Camilla Parker Bowles.

Although it is illegal in most countries it is easy to tap a cell phone. If you feel the need to listen in on the conversations of King Mswati or Barnabas Dlamini, his illegally-appointed prime minister, or anyone else for that matter, you can get the necessary software here, or here or here.

If you think your own phone is bugged, here’s how to find out.