“Nothing turns on this” (Part 3)

__What do you do if you find out someone paid a bribe?
Let me tell you what I did… We lost a deal because some senior state government officials wanted almost $10m in bribes. They were quite clear that if we did not pay we would be thrown off the deal. I refused to pay! So we were thrown off the deal.

Soon they approached a big international competitor for exactly the same deal. It was announced with a lot of fanfare. I knew there was no way that deal could have been concluded without those bribes being paid. I put a team on it to collect evidence… It was a deep, deep dive! (I had all the information including the fancy corporate structures they had put in place to make it look legitimate.)
A few months later I went nuclear: There is a law in the United States called the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (“FCPA”). If you mention that to the directors of any major global corporation, people will start shaking, if they have been misbehaving! (The United Kingdom has a similar law called the British Anti-Bribery Act.)I wrote a letter to the US Justice Department and offered my evidence, including details about the demands for the bribes, dates, times, and records. They took quite a while to get back to me, and when they did it was a short letter simply thanking me for the report. Then one day a friend who worked for this big international company called: “All hell has broken loose here! The US ‘Feds’ have apparently opened a full investigation on that issue!”. . .Next week I’ll share with you a few more highlights (and lowlights) on this matter. When it comes to stopping corruption:#Africa‘sFutureTurnsOnThis!

If you are a civil servant or minister and you are fond of asking for bribes, particularly from international companies, let me warn you that laws are really being tightened globally. You and the company paying you bribes can end up being picked up by Interpol next time you are traveling somewhere! It happened to someone I know.

I know a few guys in hiding who cannot step outside their countries anymore because they are under FCPA investigation. The days of Swiss bank accounts and lavish spending abroad are coming to a close. All it needs is some “lowly” civil servant to pass on some key documents and you are finished, my friend.

Nothing harms our countries more than this kind of high-level corruption. It’s not hard to do what I did. And let me tell you, people were very keen to pass on information to me. As a “whistleblower,” you will be protected if you approach such organizations, but you must have real evidence and not be trying to settle your own scores, otherwise you will be the one in trouble.


To be continued…

Image credit: I ran into TD Jakes in Ghana yesterday!


by 19 Replies

About Strive Masiyiwa

Strive Masiyiwa is the Founder and Executive Chairman of Econet, a diversified global telecommunications group with operations and investments in over 15 countries. His business interests also include renewable energy, financial services, media and hospitality. Masiyiwa serves on a number of international boards, including Unilever, Rockefeller Foundation, the Council on Foreign Relations’ Global Advisory Board, the Africa Progress Panel, the UN Secretary General's Advisory Board for Sustainable Energy, Morehouse College, Hilton Foundation's Humanitarian Prize Jury and the Kenjin-Tatsujin International Advisory Council. He is one of the founders, with Sir Richard Branson, of the global think tank, the Carbon War Room, and a founding member of the Global Business Coalition on Education. Masiyiwa took over the Chairmanship of the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA) from Kofi Annan. He is also Chair of the Micronutrient Initiative, a global organization focused on ending child hunger and improving nutrition. In 2012, Masiyiwa was invited by President Obama to address leaders at the Camp David G-8 Summit on how to increase food production and end hunger in parts of Africa. In 2014, Masiyiwa was selected to Fortune Magazine’s list of the “World’s 50 Greatest Leaders”. As a philanthropist, he is a member of the Giving Pledge, and his contributions to education, health and development have been widely recognized. Masiyiwa and his wife finance the Higher Life Foundation, which provides scholarships to over 42,000 African orphans. In 2015, he was the recipient of the International Rescue Committee’s Freedom Award and was presented with a UN Foundation Global Leadership Award for the work of the Africa Against Ebola Solidarity Trust, which he chairs and helped establish to fund the deployment of African healthcare workers to combat the outbreak in West Africa.

19 thoughts on ““Nothing turns on this” (Part 3)

  1. Strive Masiyiwa Post author

    Afterthought 2.
    There are organizations out there like Transparency International who have a branch in your country. Look them up on the Internet and reach out to them. It was started by one of my friends, Peter Eigen. These guys are waiting to hear from you. https://www.transparency.org/

  2. Strive Masiyiwa Post author

    Afterthought 3.
    Someone turned up at our offices during one of our battles and left a disk at the reception written: “For Mr Masiyiwa’s eyes only.” It detailed payments, invoices, names, and accounts by a big international player that was considered by many to be very respectable. If that anonymous patriot is on this platform: I salute you, African patriot!

    The most important “patriot” today, is the one willing to take on the fight against corruption. It is this patriot who safeguards the legacy of our past patriots, some of whom paid with their lives for our sovereignty as nations. It is this patriot who safeguards the future of our children. This patriot can be you!

  3. Strive Masiyiwa Post author

    Kwese and Bishop TD Jakes:
    Yesterday I bumped into Bishop TD Jakes in Accra. He was leaving for Harare as I was landing from Abidjan.
    Many of you will remember that we are working together on a new special 24 hr channel which will be available exclusively on Kwese TV. This is almost ready and will be launched in a few months. It will be a truly amazing channel.
    You will need a decoder if you want to access this channel.

  4. Strive Masiyiwa Post author

    Breaking News!
    We just landed in Lagos and we are making our way to the TH venue.
    I luv being in Nigeria, the big broda!

    You cannot be a global player if you are not thinking about investing in Nigeria.

  5. Strive Masiyiwa Post author

    Lagos Town Hall:
    Thanks Nigeria. I really enjoyed today’s meeting.
    I will be back to do more meetings in a few months.
    Well done.

  6. Strive Masiyiwa Post author

    Kwese Update:
    We are launching service in 7x countries additional countries this month (September):

    #Zimbabwe (NOW available through Econet Shops, and approved dealers);

    # South Africa (available from Thursday, as Kwese Play only);

    #Kenya (in two weeks through Safaricom, Airtel, and e-dealers);

    #Nigeria (in two weeks through MTN and Airtel Shops, and e-dealers).

    #Botswana (ALREADY UP, through dealers, big retail outlets, and MNOs);

    #Swaziland (end of the month, through dealers, and MTN);

    #Malawi (end of the month, through dealers and Airtel).

    …October will see more countries, including Uganda and Tanzania.

    Thanks for the support.
    Please enjoy!

    God bless.

  7. Strive Masiyiwa Post author

    Breaking News on Kwese in Zimbabwe:
    Today the High Court in Zimbabwe ruled that Kwese can offer its service.
    I would like to thank everyone (particularly those who prayed for us) for the outpouring of support.
    I luv you all!

    The service has been fully activated as of this afternoon (Friday).

    Someone called today “Kwese Day”!

    Please be patient as getting a decoder fully installed can take time, and we know that the demand is very high. We have trained a lot of installers to help clear the backlog.

    We have sufficient stocks in the country already, and more are on the way.

  8. Strive Masiyiwa Post author

    Prince writes,

    Before u leave Lagos, try visit Alaba international market. The biggest electrical & electronic market in the whole of Africa.
    It will be our pleasure to welcome u by our leader, the chairman Electrical Dealers Association of Nigeria (E.D.A.N) Ichie Ezeradi Ezeorjika.
    Thanks as we await you sir

    My reply,
    I long ago visited this remarkable place!
    But I would like to come again. Thanks for the invitation.

  9. Strive Masiyiwa Post author

    Bursari writes,

    I wish you would invest in Sierra Leone.

    My reply,
    The good news is that we are finalizing the licensing issues at present for both Sierra Leone and Liberia, and we expect to have service before end of the year.

  10. Strive Masiyiwa Post author

    Austin Uzim, after reading so many of your comments on FB you were one of the people I was so looking forward to meeting in Lagos.
    Where were you brother?
    Anyway, I met George another great fan.
    He is so smart I’m going to ban him from doing quizzes! Love you George.

    Everybody: The more you comment, the more I get to know you.
    So please comment.

  11. Strive Masiyiwa Post author

    Some of my friends from the world of business are interested in joining me on some of the Town Halls next year.
    Who knows I might bring one or two as “surprise guests”.
    We are absolutely going to expand and improve the format next year.
    Everything will be broadcast live on FB and on Kwese Inc.

  12. Strive Masiyiwa Post author

    Adu writes,

    The credit image is an eye opener.
    How many average Ghanaians were aware that Pastor T.D Jakes was in their country?
    I bet only a few. But he had to even hang out with our mentor Dr Strive.
    Those at the top always have access to those on top

    My reply,
    I had no idea the Bishop was in Ghana!
    I was just checking in at the hotel having arrived from Abidjan, when I saw him going to his car.
    I did something I never do in public:
    I ran after him!
    They had to stop his convoy.
    When he saw it was me, he too came running towards me!
    It was glorious!!!

    I love this great man of God.

    We are going to have an amazing new 24 hr channel curated by him called “Kwese Inspire”. We have been working on it for months now.

  13. Strive Masiyiwa Post author


    If you want to be a success in your life, and to have a happy life, there are three key things that you need to focus on:

    1. Quit wanting to be someone else.

    2. Quit trying to change others.

    3. Quit judging others.

    [Dr Chris Oyakilome].

  14. Strive Masiyiwa Post author


    #Entrepreneurs Create Jobs:

    I talk a lot about the need to create jobs for young people.
    This morning I found myself reflecting on the importance of having a job once you reach adulthood.
    I thought of those young people [from Zimbabwe ] in the banner picture above with their beautiful uniforms. They started working for the first time on Saturday, after the court ruled in our favour.

    We have created more than 10,000 jobs in Africa:


    I also thought of the despair of young people forced to cross the Sahara, and Mediterranean Sea simply because they cannot find jobs at home.

    I wonder sometimes what it feels like to have a real Job. I have not had to think about this since I left university nearly 35 years ago. Perhaps older people like me have forgotten and need to be reminded:

    #What does it mean to have a job?

    What words come to you when you think about the importance of having a job?

    I would like to hear what you think.

    Let me start:

    Your turn:

  15. Strive Masiyiwa Post author

    Thobeka writes,

    Papa Jenny Chykomber Kwese play is a device that works via the internet, it enables you to watch television and video on demand services. It has over 100 channels. You can watch live, delayed and recorded content.

    You might like to know too that Kwese play is official Netflix partner in Africa.

    My reply,
    Perfect explanation!
    This is a real game changer.
    It is Beyond Tv.

    We will formally unveil it on Thursday.
    South Africa is the launch country, but others will follow soon after.

  16. Strive Masiyiwa Post author

    Thobeka writes,

    Papa Jenny Chykomber Kwese play is a device that works via the internet, it enables you to watch television and video on demand services. It has over 100 channels. You can watch live, delayed and recorded content.

    You might like to know too that Kwese play is official Netflix partner in Africa.

    My reply,
    Perfect explanation!
    This is a real game changer.
    It is Beyond Tv.

    We will formally unveil it on Thursday.
    South Africa is the launch country, but others will follow soon after.

  17. Beauty Mutingwende

    Thank you Sir for giving us the words of wisdom.

    I was inspired by the issue of fighting corruption such that recently i reported a big corruption syndicate to an institution and i was even called there to testify.
    i smile when i imagine a world without corruption when people get contracts and position because they truly deserve them.

    Thanks you for inspiring me even on the topic of starting a business in the diaspora because i am a zimbabwean living in South Africa.
    your books has has such a great impact in my life.

    i have already used technology to do business in Zimbabwe and i am excited.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *