Ruling on Makaya's telecom case Friday

HARARE - High Court Judge Francis Bere is on Friday expected to make a ruling on politician-cum-businessman Greatman Makaya’s quest to retain his licence for a telecommunications venture.

The  former Prime Bank Limited promoter has been seeking the restoration of his Information Media Investments (Private) Limited (IMI) telecomms licence cancelled by the Postal and Telecommunications Regulatory Authority of Zimbabwe (Potraz) 10 years ago.

In his court papers, Makaya said his company had been issued with a 25-year licence by Chenhamho Chimutengwende’s then Information ministry in 1998 and he had even entered discussions with France’s Alcatel to roll out a network through its Global Star division.

However, the project failed to take off after the European technology giant withdraw its technical and financial support when the European Union (EU) imposed a travel, and asset freeze or ban on President Robert Mugabe’s inner circle.

Makaya — a former Zanu PF legislator himself — says he had searched for partners for a decade without joy, as there were no individuals or companies willing to partner him due to the embargo.

“From 1999 until early 2009, the Applicant searched far and wide on every continent for a financial and technical partner to provide capital and requisite and technology. The prospective partners which applicant courted all declined Applicant on the basis of the imposed economic sanctions," said Makaya.

“The prospective investor indicated that it was willing to invest but could not do so unless it has received confirmation validity of the Applicant’s licence “said Makaya.

He said he only secured a Korean company as a partner in 2009 to fund the telecommunications project.

The Asian business company indicated that it was willing to invest but was not willing to do so unless it received a confirmation of Makaya’s validity of his telecommunications licence.

Potraz informed Makaya that his licence had expired after he failed to regularise it within the stipulated deadline of April 2002, when all telecommunications licence holders had been called upon to do so by the regulator.

Makaya said he had made several failed appeals to Goche to review Potraz’s decision to cancel the licence.

The project, he said had the potential of generating over 1 000 jobs, according to the businessman’s papers.

Makaya is seeking that his telecommunication licence he was issued in December 1998 be regarded valid.

A High Court judge November Mtshiya recused himself from hearing the matter, as he said he has a personal relationship with Makaya.

Terence Mazhindu of Mugomeza and Mutezo legal practitioners represented Makaya.

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