The shareholders of Vodacom DRC, Vodacom (51%) and Congolese Wireless Network (49%), have become embroiled in a public spat, with the latter accusing the South African group of reneging on promises. According to Alieu Conteh, head of Congolese Wireless Network, Vodacom CEO Pieter Uys last year offered to sell the group’s stake in the Democratic Republic of Congo subsidiary, but subsequently changed his mind at the last moment. According to TechCentral, Conteh is quoted as saying that Uys’s last-minute withdrawal of his offer is symptomatic of the way Vodacom has treated CWN over the eight years the two parties have been in partnership together in the DRC. CWN is in the process of filing papers against Vodacom in a Kinshasa court, and has accused its partner of ‘fraud, swindling, usury and other offences.’ Vodacom, in turn, has accused CWN of engaging in ‘malicious litigation.’
In the CWN court papers the company demands that Vodacom pay more than USD200 million to compensate for monies it alleges the cellular group has ‘illegally’ extracted from the DRC business. It wants some of this money paid to Vodacom DRC and the rest paid directly to CWN in the form of damages.