Corruption charges mar PTK sale

12 Oct 2011

Croatian cellco T-Hrvatski Telekom (T-HT) is considering dropping its bid for state-owned Post and Telecommunication Kosovo (PTK) over corruption charges levelled against two of the Kosovan telco’s managers, reports Reuters. Alongside Telekom Austria, T-HT, which is majority-owned by Germany’s Deutsche Telekom, was shortlisted for the sale of 75% of PTK in June this year. Just two days after the duo were selected however, PTK’s chief executive and board chairman Shyqyri Haxha and Rexhe Gjonbalaj were accused of ‘entering into harmful contracts, abusing official position[s] and misuse of economic authorisations’ by prosecutors from the EU police and justice mission.

Maja Weber, a spokesperson for T-HT said that ‘In light of the charges recently filed against certain PTK managers suspected of corruption, T-HT is currently reviewing its continued participation in the privatisation process.’

Plans to sell PTK were first made public in October 2008 just eight months after the region declared its independence from Serbia, according to TeleGeography’s CommsUpdate. The initial stages of the sale were slow, however, and it was not until September 2010 that the government confirmed five bidders; T-HT, Egypt’s Orascom, Yemen-based SabaFon, Telekom Austria and Turk Telekom in partnership with its parent Calik Group. The government’s divestment is expected to raise between EUR300 million (USD408.9 million) and EUR600 million and the amount has reportedly been pencilled into Kosovo’s 2011 budget already.

Kosovo, A1 Telekom Austria Group, Hrvatski Telekom (HT), Telecom Kosovo (TK, Vala)