Millicom International Cellular SA, a Swedish company, registered in Luxembourg and headquartered in the Miami, Florida, provides cable and mobile services in Africa and Latin America under the direction of CEO Mauricio Ramos.
The company has presence in Tanzania, Ghana and Chad.
“The corporation used to operate in Senegal, Rwanda, and DRC, but has since sold its assets. Millicom is present in seven countries in Central and South America,” a report by independent investigators reads.
What brings Millicom is the alleged unethical business practices the company applies while presenting itself as an upstanding, ethically cutting-edge firm.
The firm has voluntarily bound itself and its subsidiaries to the highest standards of ethics and anti-corruption through its self-adopted “Code of Conduct”.
“In Africa, Millicom has engaged in a pattern of abuse demonstrating their disregard for local laws, government institutions and the public welfare with the objective of controlling markets with preferential conditions, to the detriment of competitors, workers, and consumers,” the report discussing African investments adds.
There have been charges against Millicom/Tigo ranging from non-compliance with local laws, and violation of labor rights, to exploitation of local partners and tax evasion.
Millicom CEO Mauricio Ramos claims to stand on a pedestal of the highest standards of corporate social responsibility.
In the company’s Code of Conduct, the firm states, “…obey the law; be honest and trustworthy in all [they] do; be transparent in [their] dealings; and be a positive force for good.”
Yet not one of these points have been observed by Millicom in Africa, and this hypocrisy has resulted in a pattern of abuse.
The report comes at a time when Millicom is in the final steps of being listed on the U.S. Nasdaq.
“In Chad for instance, Millicom is the largest mobile service provider, and thus, its Tigo network is the only access point for internet and social media for a majority of Chadians.
“In conjunction with the Chadian government Tigo has repeatedly denied access to its services and has encroached on citizen’s privacy.
“In 2016, social media was suspended in the country for eight months during the period leading up to and following the Presidential election,” the report states.
This trend, according to the report, continued when in January of 2018.
According to Amnesty International, Tigo customers were sent SMS text messages warning them not to attend a peaceful protest against the Chadian government.
In February 2018, customers received text messages informing them that their phone calls and messages were being monitored.
“In Tanzania, Millicom bailed out the CEO of its Zantel subsidiary, Sherif El-Barbary, after he was convicted in 2018 for defrauding the government. El-Barbary remains to this day the Zantel CEO despite his conviction. In Rwanda and DRC, Millicom subsidiaries were complicit with the government in internet and mobile censorship during periods approaching “democratic” elections,” further adds the report.
African institutions are cautioned to hold investigators accountable when doing business with their citizens.