Telecel exposed

17 Mar, 2011 - 22:03 0 Views

The Herald

management of lack of transparency.
She alleges former chairperson and shareholder Mr James Makamba fraudulently allocated himself shares without the Empower-ment Corporation’s consent.
Empowerment Corporation holds 40 percent shares in the country’s second largest mobile telecommunications company.
Major shareholders in the Empowerment Corporation are Dr Mutasa herself, through Selpon Investments and Mr Makamba’s Kestrel Corporation.
Dr Mutasa said her suspension as board chairperson last year was calculated to cover up dubious business transactions at the company. This was followed by the controversial appointment of foreign executives.
Expatriates hold the positions of managing director, chief finance officer, technical director and commercial director.
“Besides being shareholders, we are in the dark with regards to company affairs,” Dr Mutasa yesterday told the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Media, Information and Communication Technology.
She said tenders were “unprocedurally” given to foreign companies.
“We have local companies that are capable of setting up base stations but the tenders are given to foreigners, mainly from South Africa, Mauritius, Egypt, Dubai and Ireland.”
Dr Mutasa said Mr Makamba had been illegally chairing board meetings from his base in South Africa. She added that most business decisions for Telecel Zimbabwe were being made from South Africa.
“As I speak, I am not part of the people making decisions. It is Makamba and the Egyptians and they are holding meetings in SA.”
Cairo-based Orascom is the major shareholder in Telecel Zimbabwe with 60 percent.
Dr Mutasa also alleged forgery after she disowned a letter bearing her signature seeking extension of the chief finance officer’s work permit.
The committee had queried why Dr Mutasa was concerned about the expatriates while she was the one who actually applied for the work permits.
On the shareholding structure, Dr Mutasa said an organisation called Zimbabwe Wealth Creation Council was formed in 1996, which gave birth to the Empowerment Corporation.
Members of the council were Indigenous Business Women’s Organisation, National Miners’ Association, Affirmative Action Group, the Zimbabwe National Liberation War Veterans Association, the Zimbabwe Farmers Union, Integrated Engineering Group owned by Mr Leo Mugabe and Kestrel Corporation.
When the licence was issued, the allocation of shares was made as follows; Kestrel 15 percent, IEG 10 percent while ZFU, IBWO, National Miners Association, AAG and War Veterans Association were given nine percent each. A total of 30 percent of the shares were warehoused.
The members were then supposed to pay for the shares, but only a few managed to subscribe. A resolution was made, allowing individuals within the organisation to pay for the transactions.
Mr Philip Chiyangwa, the then president of AAG also bought shares through his Native Investments while Dr Mutasa bought the shares using her investment vehicle Selpon.
IBWO and the War Veterans Association collectively subscribed to shares below 3 percent.
Mr Chiyangwa later disposed of his shareholding to Mr Makamba.
Dr Mutasa indicated that a resolution regarding un-subscribed shares was then supposed to be taken by the Empowerment Corpo-ration.
“We realised later that Mr Makamba had unilaterally given himself those shares, including the warehoused bloc,” said Dr Mutasa.
She also alleged that Mr Makamba sold 20 percent of the EC stake in Telecel to Orascom without the knowledge of other shareholders.
“Initially, Empowerment Corporation had 60 percent in Telecel. But we now have 40 percent and the other 20 percent was sold by Makamba. There was no resolution from the corporation.”
With Dr Mutasa owning about 22 percent of the EC, Mr Makamba owns about 75 percent while IBWO and the National Miners Associa-tion share 3 percent.
This week, the ZWCC expressed concern over the Telecel shareholding structure. It said the council had lost its grip in the mobile phone company.
“Time has come to put ourselves in the driving seat,” said the council.

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