Employee claims half the tech giant’s salespeople & managers were involved in $200mn annual kickback scheme.
Tech behemoth Microsoft is bribing clients in the Middle East and Africa on a massive scale, according to whistleblower Yasser Elabd, a 20-year employee of the firm who published his testimony on Friday on the website Lioness.
Elabd claims the company spends more than $200 million annually on bribes and kickback schemes in Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Zimbabwe, Nigeria, and Ghana, among other countries. Worse, he says, more than half the managers and salespeople in those regions are involved in the graft – as many as 70% – and anyone who tries to stop the culture of ripoffs is shut out of good deals and ultimately muscled out of the company.
While the scams took different forms, they often involved governments paying millions of dollars for software they never received, or “receiving” hefty discounts that never hit the customer’s balance sheet; the missing money would end up split between the Microsoft employees and government figures involved in the deal and the subcontractor, Elabd said.
“It’s going on at all levels. All the executives are aware of it, and they’re promoting the bad people,” the former executive told The Verge on Friday. “If you’re doing the right thing, they won’t promote you.” He claims to have spoken to five other employees who were similarly punished for raising the alarm about fraud.