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Microsoft whistleblower alleges that the company paid over $200 million in foreign bribes every year

A former Microsoft employee turned whistleblower alleges that the company pays over $200 million in bribes to people in countries like Ghana, Nigeria, Saudi Arabia, and more every year.

On, Yasser Elabd, a Microsoft employee for 20 years, penned a scathing 9-minute article on why he believes the SEC should be investigating his former employers.

A little background on Yasser: he had worked on the sales team from just a member to director of public sector and emerging markets for the Middle East and Africa. His position granted him an oversight on funds requested for closing deals with large public customers.

According to his piece, the issue began in 2016 after he found a fishy $40,000 request. “When I looked through the submission, I immediately knew something was wrong. The customer did not appear in Microsoft’s internal database of potential clients,” Elabd wrote. “On top of that, the partner in the deal was underqualified for the project’s outlined scope, and he wasn’t even supposed to be doing business with Microsoft: he had been terminated four months earlier for poor performance on the sales team, and corporate policy prohibits former employees from working as partners for six months from their departure without special approval.”

When he raised the issue with superiors, the deal was blocked by the legal and HR teams, but nothing happened to whoever developed the scheme. Sensing something deeper, Yasser said he started asking more questions, reaching out, and even went as far as sending an email to Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella and an HR executive when he felt mistreated due to his investigation.

Despite the fact that he had been one of the best performing members of the sales team, he was fired in 2018 after he refused to acknowledge a performance improvement plan.

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Two years later, in 2020, he started receiving inside information from a former colleague in Saudi Arabia. “…a much clearer picture emerged of why executives had wanted to shut down my lines of questioning,” he said in his article.

He goes on to explain what he feels was taking place:

Yasser Elabd Microsoft Whistleblower bribery
A screenshot of Microsoft Whistleblower Yasser Elabd article on company’s bribery and corruption in the Middle East and Africa.

In one instance in 2015, Elabd said that the President of the Nigerian Senate complained to him that the government had paid $5.5 million for Microsoft licenses for hardware they did not even have. This was shocking to him because it was not how the Microsoft team worked as far as he was concerned.

Further, Yasser claimed to know five other former employees of the company that were either fired or forced to resign after they complained about financial irregularities. He estimated that Microsoft pays a ‘minimum’ of $200 million in bribes to employees, partners, and customers (government officials) in Ghana, Nigeria, Zimbabwe, Qatar, and Saudi Arabia.

Elabd added that he had submitted evidence to the SEC and DoJ three times, and while they acknowledged receiving them, they have not investigated the company.

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Onwuasoanya Obinna

A reader of books and stringer of words. Passionate about Science and Tech. When not writing or reading he is surfing the web and Tweeting.