Microsoft bribery in Africa and Middle East exposed by Whistleblower

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Microsoft bribery in Africa and Middle East exposed by Whistleblower

Microsoft has found itself in hot water after a whistleblower report has alleged that some of its employees were bribing companies in Africa and the Middle East.

In a post on Lioness, former employee Yasser Elabd said the tech giant had a number of employees involved in corrupt practices. These practices included using local partners to sell Microsoft products.

In response to the post, Microsoft said it has fired several employees after an investigation into the issues.

Elabd worked at Microsoft for 20 years between 1998 and 2018, but was eventually fired after, he says,  trying to stop bribes from happening. In the Lioness post, he said he saw a $40,000 payment that didn’t seem right.

“A request came through in the amount of $40,000 to accelerate closing a deal in one African country. When I looked through the submission, I immediately knew something was wrong. The customer did not appear in Microsoft’s internal database of potential clients,” he stated.

Elabd claimed the partner processing the payment was very much underqualified and no longer worked at Microsoft, so he shouldn’t have been listed. He also alleges that he was asked to “not be a blocker” when deals of a similar nature came through to the company.

He said he informed the US Securities and Exchange Commission in 2019 of these actions and they acknowledged his evidence but “did not take up the case, claiming that the current pandemic has prevented them from gathering more evidence from abroad.”

Elabd estimates “a minimum of $200 million each year goes to Microsoft employees, partners, and government employees”.

Two executives from Microsoft have batted away the accusations saying they have already addressed them.

Asked about the allegations, a Microsoft executive said, "We believe we've previously investigated these allegations, which are many years old, and addressed them."

"We cooperated with government agencies to resolve any concerns," Becky Lenaburg, vice president and deputy general counsel for compliance and ethics at Microsoft, told Agence France-Presse (AFP).

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