Former Netone chief executive officer Reward Kangai has written to President Emmerson Mnangagwa imploring him to investigate the government’s acquisition of mobile network operator Telecel. Kangai, who has an acrimonious relationship with Supa Mandiwanzira the Minister of Information Communication Technology and Cyber Security, has alleged that the deal was meant to benefit the minister and former first lady Grace Mugabe at the expense of the public.
The government acquired Vimplecom and Global Telecom’s 60 percent stake in Telecel in November 2016, at a time when it was already the sole shareholder in NetOne. In August 2017, Mandiwanzira announced that the government wanted to “sanitize” the shareholding of Telecel by owning 100 percent of the company.
In his letter addressed to President Emmerson Mnangagwa, Kangai makes the following allegations:
NSSA insisted on having a shareholding in Telecel after that payment but Hon. Supa Mandiwanzira is against that, hence NSSA is being reimbursed for its US$30million through the USF.
World-wide, most Governments have been dis-investing from the highly capital intensive mobile communications business as the industry is very attractive to Foreign Direct Investment (FDI), leaving Governments to focus funding on social services like health and education, which are not so attractive to FDI.
…It is unlikely that the Minister would have been unaware of the folly of that move but rather, it seems to support speculations that the purchase of Telecel by the Government of Zimbabwe was only an intermediate step with the ultimate goal of benefitting powerful and well-connected individuals.
There have been wide rumours that the true intention was to later sell Telecel to Unitel, owned by Isabel dos Santos, daughter of former Angolan President, Eduardo dos Santos for a mere US$10million ‘profit’ meant to hoodwink the public whilst facilitating proxy shareholding to former First Lady and the Minister (Mandiwanzira).
Kangai was fired from NetOne in September 2016, over allegations of gross corporate misconduct.
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