Cameroon Accuses Mobile Operators of $289 Million Tax Evasion

Three mobile-phone operators in Cameroon allegedly evaded taxes and royalties and received illegal rebates, defrauding the government of $289 million, the country’s regulator said Tuesday.

MTN Group Ltd. of South Africa, Paris-based Orange SA and state-owned Cameroon Telecommunications, or Camtel, were named in a report by the National Anti-Corruption Commission, or Conac, released by Chairman Dieudonne Massi Gams in the capital, Yaounde. The ministries of finance and post and telecommunications allegedly colluded by providing illegal tax rebates, the regulator said.

The activities occurred from 2010 through 2014 and were uncovered after investigations conducted last year. The Telecommunications Regulatory Board is also accused of failing to act on the transgressions.

MTN and Orange officials declined to comment, saying they are studying the report.

“We expect that President Paul Biya will order legal investigations, which should end with why two ministers of his government can afford to grant rebates to the operators,” Conac Vice President Garga Haman Adji said by phone.

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