EXAMPLES OF CORRUPT SITUATIONS I’VE EXPERIENCED :MASIYIWA | In his extensive interview, in which he talked about how he deals with corruption, Mr Strive Masiyiwa, also gave the following examples:
In one country, we had a contract, on which we earned over $30m a year. It was very important for our business. Two very powerful politicians, demanded that I pay them a bribe of $8m, to keep the contract. I refused.
They had our contract cancelled and we were thrown out. They then replaced us with one of our largest global competitors from Europe. whose executives immediately paid the bribes. I reported them to the US Justice Department, as they are listed on the New York Stock Exchange. They admitted that their officials had paid the bribes, and fired the officials.
They then left the country. One of the politicians was later indicted for corruption and is now serving a 13 year jail sentence. Years later we returned to the country, and we are building again, our presence in that wonderful country.
In another country, we submitted a tender on a privatisation, and we were recommended as the best, by the international investment bankers advising the government of that country. The deal was worth hundreds of millions to us. We waited and waited for an announcement, but none came. Then I was invited to the State House. The son of the President asked for a 20% stake in exchange for us being given the award.
I refused, and withdrew our bid. I have no regrets. When the President had lost an election, we returned to that country, and got an opportunity to set up, and we are doing very well.
In yet another country, a retiring African President invited me to come and see him. He told me he had heard a lot of good things about our company. He said he wanted to issue one more license before he left office, and he felt that we should have it because we were an African company. He then suggested that I find a way to accommodate him quietly off shore, as he “needed something in retirement”.
I politely told him, that I was not interested in the license. We are yet to return to that country, but we will one day.
In one of Africa’s most respected countries, a policeman asked me for my driver’s license, as I drove to church one morning, with my family. I told him that I had forgotten it, at home.
He said that I had committed an offense, which I immediately accepted. Instead of giving me a ticket, he suggested that I pay him something. I refused, he then threatened to arrest me, and I said it was fine, and he could go ahead. Several of his colleagues surrounded us, even verbally abusing me, and saying I would be deported because I was a foreigner.
I kept quiet, I never raised my voice, or was animated. I simply asked that they either arrest me, or issue me a ticket. After a while they said, we could go. I refused, and insisted they ticket me, as they had an obligation to do so, under the law.
Now, they were totally terrified! We have continued to prosper in that nation…but I never forget my license, when I drive a car!