Following on from Monday’s CommsUpdate story regarding the ownership of Zimbabwean mobile operator Telecel, which suggested that 40% shareholder Empowerment Corporation (E Corp) had agreed to sell its interest to private equity firm Brainworks Capital Management, it is now being reported that the agreement was made without the approval of key E Corp members. Local newspaper The Herald reports that founding shareholders Dr Jane Mutasa, head of the Indigenous Business Women Organisation (IBWO), and the Magamba Echimurenga group were not part of the discussions with Brainworks.
Magamba Echimurenga chairman Andrew Ndlovu has labelled the planned disposal of E Corp’s shares as ‘illegal’, while Dr Mutasa was quoted as saying: ‘We were not part of that meeting and whatever was agreed on is null and void.’ Mr Ndlovu added: ‘They may think that this is the end of the story, but what they do not know is that it could be the beginning of unending legal battles in Empowerment Corporation.’ Dr Mutasa stated that if certain E Corp members decide to sell their shares in the consortium then first right of refusal should be given to the other members and not a third party. Brainworks has offered USD20 million to acquire E Corp’s 40% interest in the struggling Telecel, which is under fire for failing to meet its licence payments. Meanwhile, 60% shareholder Vimpelcom says it has lined up three prospective bidders to acquire its own interest in Telecel.