Microsoft accused of bribery in the Middle East and Africa: $200 million a year


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Former Microsoft employee, Yasser Elabd released charges against Microsoft. The charges asserts that the technology giant is related to hundreds of millions of dollars in bribes in the Middle East and Africa. Elabd has been with Microsoft for 20 years starting in 1998. His role at Microsoft was Director of Public Sector and Emerging Markets for the Middle East and Africa.

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The former Microsoft employee claim that in some regions as many as half of the company’s salespeople and managers receive or give bribes in some capacity. Elabd estimates that Microsoft has links to more than $200 million in bribes annually in countries including Ghana, Nigeria, Zimbabwe, Qatar, and Saudi Arabia.

In a post on the whistleblower platform, Lioness, Elabd described a $40,000 spending request that raised his suspicions. The customers who received the payment were not in Microsoft’s internal lead database. Also, they were under-qualified for the scope of the payment-related project. In addition, according to Elabd, the client, which worked with Microsoft only four months ago, was allegedly terminated for poor performance. This should have excluded them from doing business with the company.

Elabd said he referred the matter to managers, human resources, and the company’s legal department. The $40,000 transaction did not pull through, but the company did not investigate further. In Elabd’s post, he accused Microsoft of being involved in bribery. He also shared specific examples of what appeared to be problematic behavior. In deals with two government agencies, more than $5.5 million in discounts did not get to end customers. Furthermore, an audit report from Elabd shows that $13.6 million in rebates in the deal with the Saudi Ministry of Interior did not get to customers. Instead, this fund hit the pockets of Microsoft employees and partners.

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Microsoft denies the claim

In another incident, Qatar’s Ministry of Education allegedly paid $9.5 million a year for Office and Windows licenses that were never installed.

Yasser Elabd told The Verge: “It’s going on at every level… All the executives know this, they’re promoting bad people. If you’re doing the right thing, they’re not promoting you. “

The Verge reached out to Microsoft for comment. However, the tech giant emphasized its commitment to ethical behavior to the outlet.

Becky Lenaburg, Microsoft vice president and associate general counsel for compliance and ethics had this to say

“We are committed to conducting business in a responsible manner. We always encourage anyone to report anything they see that may violate a law, policy, or ethical standards,”

Contrary to Microsoft’s claim that the incident was a thing of the past and dealt with, Yasser Elabd said a manager told him it was best to turn a blind eye to certain situations.

Yasser Elabd also claims that he had to face criticism for raising issues. For this reason, managers and leaders excludes him from important deals. Eventually, Microsoft had to fire him.

“They never take any legal action against these employees. Eventhough they know they were stealing company money and government money,” Yasser Elabd said…”The message to employees is ‘do what you want. Make as much money as you can, and at worst you’ll get a sack letter”

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2 Comments

  1. Marcus Li
    March 29, 2022

    This does not surprise me. The US and their tech companies like to do as they please, but when others do it…. its a whole lot of drama.

  2. Freeje238
    March 30, 2022

    Bribery? Really? Impossible!