Telco IT Exec Accused of $8.6mn Fraud Following Internal Audit

Mohamed Ismal Adamjee, formerly the Executive Head of IT at South African mobile operator Cell C, has been charged with fraud and corruption by South Africa’s Directorate for Priority Crime Investigation (DPCI), also known as the ‘Hawks’. The DPCI is the branch of the South African police that targets the most serious organized and economic crimes.

Adamjee is accused of conspiring with one of Cell C’s suppliers to inflate a series of invoices between 2012 and 2019. A statement from the South African police alleged that Adamjee colluded with a director of an IT and network services supplier, causing ZAR64mn (USD4.2mn) in losses for Cell C. The National Prosecuting Authority later stated that Adamjee’s frauds had caused Cell C to lose ZAR130mn (USD8.6mn) in total, per reporting by the Sunday Times and other news media.

The Hawks investigation into Adamjee began in 2020 after irregularities were found by Cell C’s internal auditors. Cell C has been through a turbulent time as management seeks to revive a business that defaulted on its debts and needed to be recapitalized. The turnaround strategy included the appointment in 2019 of a team of lawyers tasked with investigating irregular business practices.

Adamjee was released on bail and his case adjourned to April 14 to allow time for further investigation. He has had to relinquish his passport and is not allowed to leave Gauteng; Cell C’s head office is located at Johannesburg, within the province of Gauteng. Police stated that they expect to make further arrests in relation to this investigation.

Eric Priezkalns
Eric Priezkalns
Eric is the Editor of Commsrisk. Look here for more about the history of Commsrisk and the role played by Eric.

Eric is also the Chief Executive of the Risk & Assurance Group (RAG), a global association of professionals working in risk management and business assurance for communications providers.

Previously Eric was Director of Risk Management for Qatar Telecom and he has worked with Cable & Wireless, T‑Mobile, Sky, Worldcom and other telcos. He was lead author of Revenue Assurance: Expert Opinions for Communications Providers, published by CRC Press. He is a qualified chartered accountant, with degrees in information systems, and in mathematics and philosophy.