Comium, which was awarded a mobile licence in Cote d’Ivoire in July 2006, is reportedly wracked with internal conflict, online journal Agence Ecofin claims. Indeed, a legal battle is believed to be looming between former directors Eugene Diomande and Mohammed Salameh, and current director Nizar Dalloul over monies the duo believe they are owed. The news agency suggests that Diomande is planning to take the matter to the International Court of Arbitration in Paris with a view to enforcing the rights of he and Salameh, both of whom are minority shareholders in the cellco.
Some news sources claim that, following the duo’s dismissal from their management positions in January 2011, they agreed to offload their respective shares in Comium for XOF2.4 billion (USD4.85 million, Diomande) and XOF1 billion (Salameh), signing a memorandum of understanding (MoU) which set out the terms of the share buyback. Diomande was scheduled to receive XOF100 million per month, while Salameh expected to receive XOF50 million per month for his stake, but the payments quickly dried up, prompting the former directors to take legal action.
However, in a bid to freeze out the duo Comium announced a capital increase, to XOF50 billion – more than its main rivals Orange, MTN and Moov combined – much to the surprise of a number of local banks, who said that such a move would see Comium ‘crumble in debt’.