March 29, 2022

Microsoft Reportedly Fired Employee After Allegations Of Bribery In Africa And The Middle East

Microsoft said this week that it had fired some employees and terminated partnerships in relation to allegations made public Friday of bribery in its sales efforts in the Middle East in recent years.

The disclosure came regarding allegations of bribery and corruption in Microsoft operations in the region made public by a former manager for the company named Yasser Elabd, who worked for the tech giant throughout the Middle East and Africa from 1998 to 2018, when he says he was fired.

In an essay published Friday on Lioness, an outlet that documents stories from whistleblowers, Elabd alleged that Microsoft employees were involved in widespread bribery schemes across several countries in the region.

Elabd said that in 2016 he realized a $40,000 payment to an African client didn’t seem right. With some digging, he found out it was a former Microsoft employee who had been terminated for poor performance.

He wrote in the essay: “Corporate policy prohibits former employees from working as partners for six months from their departure without special approval.”

Hoping to get more details – he went to his management, but Elabd claims that he encountered resistance and thought there was more to it than. He claims that he then decided to look deeper into the Microsoft employees who he claimed were orchestrating fake deals.

In the two years that followed, Elabd claims he did everything in his power to counter the bribes but believed Microsoft was not interested in stopping the payouts. He said he ultimately ended up being fired in June 2018. 

Elabd estimated that “a minimum of $200 million each year goes to Microsoft employees, partners, and government employees,” in bribes. He continued in his essay, saying: “Among the customers who I believe have received this money are government officials in Ghana, Nigeria, Zimbabwe, Qatar, and Saudi Arabia.”

In a statement, Becky Lenaburg, deputy general counsel at Microsoft 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.”

The company added that, as part of its investigations,  it had taken action which included “terminating employees and partnerships.”

Insider previously reported in 2019 on Microsoft agreeing to pay about $25.3 million, including a criminal fine, to settle US charges it made improper payments that were used to bribe government officials in Hungary and other countries.

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Abbianca Makoni

Abbianca Makoni is a content executive and writer at POCIT! She has years of experience reporting on critical issues affecting diverse communities around the globe.