Zimbabwe News and Internet Radio

Telecel saga takes new twist

By Tendai Kamhungira

The topsy-turvy 40 percent ownership saga of Telecel Zimbabwe’s shares, which are held by Empowerment Corporation (EC) has taken a new twist amid claims and counterclaims between the local grouping’s company secretaries, James Makamba and Gerald Mlotshwa’s corners.

James Makamba
James Makamba

While the consortium’s secretaries Carlton Consultants had on Wednesday moved to disown a purported resolution to oust the Harare lawyer from Telecel’s board, company principal Caston Chikosi has summersaulted to say he was “duped into signing documents to this effect” by the Kestrel Corporation owner’s rivals.

“I wish to state that l was neither party to any of the new revelations not to any board meetings, as both contending parties’ records should show,” he said in a signed letter yesterday.

“The obvious feeling would be that of disappointment that my name and reputation, which l value deeply would be jeopardised, by such an unfair and unjust approach,” Chikosi said.

The development also comes as Makamba is said to be working frantically to annul a May 2017 agreement to sell his Kestrel shareholding in EC to George Manyere and Mlotshwa, which has attracted a $3 million lawsuit from the aggrieved parties relating to a deposit given to Telecel chairperson for the deal.

However, the Carlton director had on May 23 said: “I am aware of the sale of Kestrel … shares to Manyere and Gerald Mlotshwa. I confirm that l was instructed by Dr Makamba to prepare and update the financial statements of Empowerment Corporation … in light of this transaction.

“I have seen minutes or extracts of a meeting purportedly by (the Telecel chairman) and Dr (Jane) Mutasa in or around the 16th of May, 2018. However, as company secretary l am not aware of any such meeting and cannot authenticate these minutes … at all,” Chikosi said in an affidavit.

The Carlton rebuttal and protestations by Makamba’s lawyers that he might have misled them on Mlotshwa’s ejection have since emboldened the latter to initiate steps for the embattled businessman’s removal from the Telecel board – and in line with a shareholders’ resolution taken mid last year.

According to documents seen by the Daily News, Makamba appears to have voluntarily agreed to stand down as company chair and director then — once the disposal of his EC stake had gone through.

“I make reference to correspondence from Empowerment Corporation … requisitioning an EGM of the members of Telecel … Reference is also made to the transactions as defined and amplified … by Dr Jane Mutasa,” he said in a June 02 letter to Telecel and that was certified by his South African attorney Amanda Pike

“The members … being Telecel International Limited BVI and EC, represented as such in terms of duly authorised and executed forms of proxy, are required to adopt and pass a resolution approving of my resignation from the board of Telecel at the said EGM,” Makamba said.

The businessman-politician had also apparently confirmed, subsequent to this letter, that there had been “a restructuring of the shareholding of Empowerment Corporation … the net effect of which is to result in the … complete exit of Kestrel … representing the beneficial interests of … Makamba”.

Further, Manyere and Mlotshwa were to be appointed to the Telecel board as the new owners of his stake in the consortium.

Contacted for a comment on all this at the weekend, Makamba said he had “no comment” to make.

Meanwhile, Mlotshwa has asked Telecel chief executive Angeline Vere to ignore Makamba’s recent directives on the matter to the mobile network operator.

“We refer to the letter dated 16 May 2018 addressed to you by … Makamba, in which he purports to withdraw the nomination of Mr Mlotshwa as a director of Telecel … with immediate effect … It is our considered view that the purported withdrawal is invalid,” he said.

Under the deal with Mlotshwa and Manyere, the EC chair and founder was to get $13 million, and for which a $3 million deposit was duly paid.

But Makamba, sources say, appears to be exploiting delays that have always dogged the deal, including internecine Zanu PF succession fights and which had initially frustrated the full implementation of the acquisition during Robert Mugabe’s last days in power. DailyNews