FILE PHOTO: A worker walks past an outlet of South Africa's MTN Group in Johannesburg, South Africa
INTERNATIONAL - The Ugandan unit of South African telecommunications firm MTN Group has denied government accusations it has been understating its revenues and said it was fully meeting all its tax obligations.

Relations between the telecoms firm and the East African country have been strained over a series of issues including deportations of its top executives, accusations of under-reporting revenues and delayed renewal of its operating licence.

“MTN revenues are independently audited and we remain firmly of the view that all revenues have been correctly accounted for and we are compliant on all tax matters,” MTN Uganda said in an email to Reuters on Thursday.

“Where queries are raised during tax assessments ... MTN works with the relevant authorities to resolve the queries according to the law.”

Last week Uganda deported the firm’s chief executive officer, Belgian national Wim Vanhelleputte, the fourth senior official to be expelled from the country.

The government initially said the expulsions were connected to conduct that compromised national security but has since further accused MTN and the officials of under-reporting revenues and causing public revenue losses.

MTN Uganda is the country’s largest telecommunications firm, with over ten million subscribers. It competes mainly with India’s Bharti Airtel.

The company has also been under political pressure to list its shares on the local bourse to facilitate domestic ownership of the company and ensure more of the money it earns stays in the country.

MTN Uganda earned $373.99 million in revenues in 2017, up 10 percent from the previous period.

- REUTERS