MTN has lauded President Yoweri Museveni for taking a bold move of pardoning deported MTN Uganda Chief Executive Officer Wim Vanhelleputte.
In a statement issued on Thursday, MTN Group President Rob Shuter confirmed that President Museveni exercised executive discretion to permit Vanhelleputte’s unconditional return to Uganda.
“MTN wishes to express its gratitude to His Excellency, the President of the Republic of Uganda, all government officials, Ministries, Departments and Agencies for their support and goodwill for making this possible,” Shuter said.
“MTN Uganda is a law-abiding corporate citizen and is committed to continue to play its part in the development of Uganda.”
On Wednesday May 29, 2019, Internal Affairs Minister Gen. Jeje Odongo issued a letter to the Director Citizenship and Immigration Control informing him about Vanhelleputte’s presidential pardon and return into the country.
“As you may be aware …the President of the Republic of Uganda pardoned the Chief Executive Officer of MTN Uganda Mr Vanhelleputte Wim Joris J, holder of a Belgium PPT No.EP336746. He is now scheduled to travel back to Uganda tomorrow Thursday 30th May 2019 at 1430hrs aboard South African Airways SA 160,” wrote Gen Odongo.
“This is…to direct that he is immediately removed from the immigration Stop List, and accordingly be allowed into the country. By copy of this letter, the In-Charge Immigration/Security at Entebbe Airport are accordingly asked to allow him access and immigration clearance through Entebbe VIP lounge. Treat as urgent.”
Vanhelleputte was on 14 February, 2019 deported by the country’s authorities for allegedly threatening national security.
In March, he ran to court challenging Uganda’s decision to have him returned to Belgium.
In his lawsuit filed before the High Court civil division, Vanhelleputte challenged his deportation saying that it was irrational and illegal.
Vanhelleputte said he was entitled to fair and just treatment and due process before an administrative body and/or any person, and also has a right to be heard.
“The applicant has never committed any offence or criminal act under the laws of Uganda and neither is he responsible for breaking any law. That there’s no lawful reason whatsoever for his deportation. That it is in the interest of justice that his deportation be quashed,” the affidavit read in part.
He further contended that he has been a regular visitor to Uganda since 1993.
“I have been a regular visitor to Uganda since 1993 until when I got married and also settled in Uganda where I and the family have been living at Lubowa, Makindye Ssabagabo, Wakiso District until my deportation from Uganda to Belgium.”