Microsoft In Africa, Middle East Is Heavily Corrupted, Whistleblower Alleges

AFORMER Microsoft employee has alleged in an essay published on Lioness (a whistleblower website) that the tech giant is using bribes in the Middle East and Africa.

The employee, Yasser Elabd, worked for Microsoft for 20 years and was fired in 2018.

Elabd said he witnessed company employees involved in corrupt practices in several countries in the region. He said the practices included using local partner companies to help sell Microsoft products.

A Microsoft exec responded to Elabd’s claims, saying that previous allegations have been addressed and investigated.

Becky Lenaburg, vice president and deputy general counsel for compliance and ethics at Microsoft, told AFP: ‘We cooperated with government agencies to resolve any concerns. We are committed to doing business in a responsible way. Microsoft always encourages anyone to report anything they see that may violate the law, our policies, or our ethical standards.’

Elabd said that he filed evidence with the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), alleging violations of the US Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, but has also accused the US financial regulator of turning a blind eye to the alleged malfeasance. Similarly, he has criticised the US department of justice (DoJ) for declining to investigate his complaint, TechCentral reported.

The whistleblower estimated that at least $200 million  a year is being channelled irregularly to Microsoft employees, partners and government employees through allegedly corrupt schemes across the company’s operations in Africa and the Middle East.

‘I expected better of a United States company. As I alleged in my complaint to the SEC, Microsoft is violating the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, and continues to do so brazenly. And why wouldn’t they? By declining to investigate these allegations and the evidence I’ve given them, the SEC and DOJ have given Microsoft the green light,’ Elabd wrote.

Elabd’s essay can be read here.