The representatives of the State no longer sit on the Board of Mauritius Telecom since Wednesday. Media reported that the government revoked or forced the five local directors to resign on reasons that are yet to be clarified.
The development followed the resignation of the ex-Chief Technical Officer (CTO), Girish Guddoy and the increase mention of a confidential report on the alleged intervention of an Indian IT team at the SAFE Cable landing station in Baie Jacotet in April.
The directors who resigned – or were revoked – are Dheerendra Dabee, Dev Manraj, Koosiram Conhye, Ramesh Bheekoo and the Chairman, Nayen Koomar Ballah. They all represented the government which owns 33.49%, SBM Holdings Ltd 19% and the National Pensions Fund, 6.55% – totalling 59.04%.
SBM Holdings had no official on the Board but was represented by Ballah, also the Secretary to the Cabinet.
Some reports claim that Orange – which owns 40%- would’ve threatened to back out if the “flower vase directors” were not removed.
“If the French leave, it would be a bad blow for the reputation of Mauritius Telecom. Furthermore, the country will have to find several billion of rupees to pay them. In the current difficult economic situation, that would be a disaster,” l’Express reported.
Defi Media cited an unidentified source as claiming that the four directors were asked to resign pending the constitution of a new board.
“It was not appropriate for the four members in question, who had endorsed decisions by ex-MT CEO Sherry Singh, to remain in their positions”, the source was cited as saying.
ICT Minister Deepak Balgobin had a similar argument. “It was the wish of the shareholders to have a new Board,” he told MBC TV.
On his resignation on June 30, Sherry Singh, the ex-CEO of MT levelled serious allegations of internet ‘sniffing’ against Prime Minister Pravind Jugnauth. Jugnauth has denied the allegations and filed a complaint against Singh at the CCID.
Earlier, insiders said it is clear that without a formal whistleblowing mechanism, the only way that this was possible to stop it all was to attract public attention through their resignations.