Norwegian telecommunications giant Telenor banned for six months Chinese company ZTE Corp. from participating in tenders and new business opportunities because of an alleged breach of its code of conduct in a procurement proceeding,” international news agencies reported.
Telenor announced the ban Monday last week, October 13. It will take effect until March 3, 2009. The news reports did not give further details on the breach.
Based on its company profile, Telenor ranked as the world’s 7th largest mobile operator having ownership interests in 12 mobile operators across Europe and Asia. In 2007, it enjoyed annual revenue of NOK 105 billion.
“This situation between Telenor and ZTE has arisen because of the actions of a single employee in a ZTE subsidiary acting on his own behalf,” news agencies Reuters and Wall Street Journal quoted a statement of ZTE Corp.
“The individual concerned has been disciplined and we are reviewing possible legal action. ZTE has a very clear code of conduct and, as a listed company, our employees have to adhere to the highest business standards,” the ZTE Corp.’s statement also said.
(Reuter’s report on the ban)
Remember the US$329-million broadband deal?
ZTE Corp. gained notoriety in the Philippines after its involvement with the government’s controversial national broadband deal project.
Several witnesses came forward to testify on the allegedly irregular procurement process undertaken by government agencies in awarding the project to ZTE Corp.
In a Senate hearing in February, self-proclaimed ZTE Corp. local consultant and liaison officer Dante Madriaga testified that the Chinese company advanced a total US$41 million to President Arroyo and her agents to seal the deal.
Before Madriaga, witnesses Jose “Joey” De Venecia III and Rodolfo Noel “Jun” Lozada surfaced to accuse the President of involvement in the anomalous broadband deal project. But it was Madriaga who named ZTE official Fan Yan’s involvement in the cash advances.
Madriaga said back then that Fan Yan (or Fan Yang) personally told him about the advances. The ZTE official was supposedly worried about the delayed approval of the deal.
The controversy led President Arroyo to cancel the project with ZTE Corp. The Chinese government, on the other hand, later cleared ZTE Corp. of any violations and laws and rules in relation to its dealings in the Philipines.
All these moves did not provide a closure to the controversy, however. The allegedly anomalous government project is one of the charges in the latest impeachment case against President Arroyo.