Telecel saga continues, Makamba hangs to shares

Telecel saga continues, Makamba hangs to shares
Published: 12 June 2018
A RENEWED ownership wrangle has erupted over the country's third-largest mobile network operator, Telecel Zimbabwe, following the return of self-exiled businessman and co-founder James Makamba after 12 years in banishment.

Makamba returned home immediately after former president Robert Mugabe was toppled in a military coup last November, paving way for President Emmerson Mnangagwa.

Since his return, he has been trying to resuscitate his crumbling business empire by grabbing control of the telecoms company, now controlled by government and local lawyer Gerald Mlotshwa.

There were reports over the weekend that an extraordinary general meeting of Telecel Zimbabwe on Thursday finalised Makamba's exit after decades as chairman.

According to the report, Makamba was due to receive $11-million for his Telecel Zimbabwe shares. He sold off a remainder of 30.25% equity in holding company Kestrel Corporation to MHMK Group, controlled by Mlotshwa and George Manyere.

Lawyers, Chinyama and Partners said, "We have been instructed by Dr. James Makamba our client and owner of investment vehicle known as Ketsrel Corporation (Private) Limited to correct certain factual inaccuracies in media reports which claim that an Extra Ordinary General Meeting was held on the 7th of June 2018 at 8:30am at Telecel Zimbabwe (Private) Limited boardroom wherein our client Dr. James Makamba is alleged to have sold his Equity in Telecel Zimbabwe (Private) Limited and that he agreed to step down as Chairman of the Board of Telecel Zimbabwe (Private) Limited and as Director in Telecel Zimbabwe (Private) Limited.

"Our instructions are that our client has never resigned a Director or Chairman of the Board of Directors of Telecel Zimbabwe (Private) Limited. Further that, no Extra Ordinary General Meeting of Telecel Zimbabwe (Private) Limited took place on the 7th of June 2018 and, our client denies disposing off any of his Telecel Zimbabwe (Private) Limited Shares to anyone neither has he received any consideration in exchange of such purported transaction.

"Lastly, our client instructs that at one stage he wanted to sell his Equity to certain consortium which failed to fulfil the terms of their conditional purchase and sale agreement which saw him writing a conditional letter of resignation which could only have been effective upon meeting of conditions in the conditional agreement of sale.

"The person purporting to have signed the resolution is not the Company Secretary of Telecel Zimbabwe (Private) Limited neither does the person have authority to act in the manner he did."

Mlotshwa last year emerged a significant Telecel shareholder after he secured Makamba's 40% shareholding. This followed reports the controversial tycoon had sold his stake in Empowerment Corporation (EC) to a local consortium that included Mlotshwa and businessman George Manyere. Manyere later exited the deal, leaving Mlotshwa with the contested shareholding.

According to the same media outlet, the new chairman Gerald Mlotshwa said it was a relief to put "legacy issues" to bed. "We will be meeting shortly with our co-shareholder, Telecel International, to map the way forward operationally, particularly in relation to recapitalisation of Telecel, which requires at least $400-million over the next three to four years, mainly for network expansion and upgrades," he said.

"There is, of course, the need to put to rest the outstanding licence fees. The capacity to finance these costs is there. However, the manner and means in which this will be achieved will be made public in due course."

- BusinessDaily
Tags: Makamba,


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