Dept. to probe former ambassador

SA’s former ambassador to Iran is being investigated for his role in the MTN corruption saga.

MTN offices in Johannesburg. Picture:

CAPE TOWN - South Africa's former ambassador to Iran is being investigated by officials, the International Relations and Cooperations Department confirmed on Tuesday.

It is alleged Yusuf Salojee received $200,000 to help cellphone giant MTN secure a mobile operating licence in Iran.

The allegations first surfaced when rival bidder Turkcell filed papers accusing MTN of violating international law.

The company claims MTN bribed government officials and pressed the South Africa government to endorse Iran's nuclear programme, in exchange for rights to the GSM licence.

A former MTN executive told a Washington court he fronted over R1.5 million to the former ambassador.

International Relations Spokesperson Clayson Monyela said, "On the basis of the consistent reports in the public domain, the department has seen it necessary to institute an internal investigation."

MTN continues to rubbish the allegations.

The company has 33 million customers in Iran.