A former employee of tech giant Microsoft now turned whistle-blower has blown the lid on an alleged bribery scheme in the Middle East and Africa.
In response to the allegations, Microsoft has announced this week that they had previously fired some employees as well as terminating partnership over the allegations.
Microsoft disclosed the action it took after the allegations were made by a former manager named Yasser Elabd. Mr Elabd worked for Microsoft throughout the Middle East and Africa from 1998 to 2018 when Microsoft allegedly sacked him from his role.
Mr Elabd in an online interview discussed a widespread bribery ring involving Microsoft employees, partners and even government officials. The scheme involved Microsoft employees using partner companies to sell company products to customers. Those companies facilitated a kickback scheme in which the customers would be granted discounts, but the customers never saw the discounts, instead it was distributed among those involved in the scheme.
Microsoft Vice President Becky Lenaburg said these allegations were addressed in the past. “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.” Lenaburg said.
Mr. Elabd claims he tried to address the concerns to higher ranking executives, which included email correspondence with Microsoft Chief Executive officer Satya Nadella, but instead was put on a performance-improvement plan, which he refused to take part in and was subsequently fired.
In early 2019 Mr. Elabd took his concerns to the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). Later in 2019 the SEC held a seven-hour meeting with Mr. Elabd. The SEC were most interested in Microsoft’s dealing in Saudi Arabia.
The investigations ceased when the Covid pandemic broke out with the SEC stating that the investigation could go no further due to the pandemic conditions preventing them from gathering evidence from overseas according to Mr. Elabd.