“I had a conversation with the former Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Mauritius Telecom during the month of April.
“I asked him to give access to a technical team to do a survey in the landing station at Baie Jacotet. At no time during my conversation did I mention sniffing equipment or interception equipment.”
This is reportedly the new statement of Prime Minister Pravind Jugnauth in reaction to the allegations that he attempted to convince the ex-CEO of MT to authorise the installation of spy software and control Mauritius internet traffic.
The allegations have shaken the political world – with the opposition and civil rights activists demanding Jugnauth’s resignation for ‘high treason’.
The matter was taken to Parliament on Tuesday July 5 but all 26 opposition MPs were expelled by National Assembly Speaker Sooroojdev Phokeer.
The expulsion is described as ‘shocking’ and is being denounced as the violation of Parliamentary democratic rules.
Last week, after initially stating it Jugnauth added that there was never any question of installing equipment to spy on Internet traffic, he has confirmed he did talk with Sherry Singh, but it was a “survey” for security purposes.
“In Mauritius, we do not have the technicians we need and even if we had, we preferred to retain foreign technicians. I spoke with Shri Narendra Modi (Indian PM) and told him to get us a team to do this survey. It came but the ex-CEO of Mauritius Telecom did not give permission for the survey. It was in that context that I spoke to him (Sherry Singh) and asked him to give permission to the Indian team to access the site – which he granted.’
According to media reports, Pravind Jugnauth did not want to say more about this study, except that it was “state security.”
Sherry’ Singh’s reaction
Following Jugnauth’s statement, Sherry Singh responded with a set of questions which he shared with l’Express newspaper:
- If he speaks today of a survey or of the need to carry out a survey, what about the formal request to conduct this exercise?
- How can Mauritius Telecom accede to a request that is not formal?
- If the intent was only a survey, why did the CEO refuse?
- How can a PM call a CEO for an unofficial survey?
- How can the PM grant access to a restricted area without a formal request?
- The SAFE cable does not belong to Mauritius Telecom but to a consortium of operators. Has the consortium’s permission been obtained?
“The lie is becoming more and more apparent. You can’t betray your country,” Singh said.
According to legal experts who spoke to Defi Media, Jugnauth’s statement could be a violation of Companies Act.
Singh is expected to “reveal more” soon.