Court orders CWN chairman to stand down temporarily

27 Oct 2011

The chairman of Congo Wireless Networks (CWN), the local partner of South African telco Vodacom in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and 49% owner of Vodacom Congo, will be temporarily replaced at the behest of the DRC Court of Appeals, reports Bloomberg. Alieu Conteh, the current chairman and founder of CWN will be replaced for a minimum of three months by company accountant Mupepe Lebo. The suspension will allow the Congolese company to call a general assembly to discuss the proposed sale of Vodacom’s stake in Vodacom Congo. As previously reported by CommsUpdate, Vodacom is looking to sell off its operations in DRC to end a dispute with CWN over the structure and funding of Vodacom Congo that has raged since 2009. The South African MTN Group and Angola’s Unitel have both expressed an interest in purchasing Vodacom’s stake, as have at least two more as-yet-unnamed companies.

The Kinshasa court made the ruling following CWN’s attempt earlier this week to block the sale of Vodacom’s stake until the two had resolved their dispute. In its judgement, the court said that a dispute between the shareholders of CWN risked paralysing the company, the threat of which granted it power to appoint an administrator with ‘the broadest powers’. Conteh’s lawyers are disputing the decision, claiming that the court does not have the power to appoint an administrator with such power. Conteh is currently considering taking the matter to the Supreme Court.

Congo, Dem. Rep., Vodacom Congo (DRC), Vodacom Group