Telecel saga takes new twist

HARARE - The nasty fight for 40 percent of mobile network operator Telecel’s shares, which belong to an empowerment consortium, is getting worse — amid damaging claims and counterclaims by the warring parties.

Now, the corporate brawl has sucked in the secretaries of the consortium, Carlton Consultants, a company that is headed by Caston Chikosi.

First, it was claimed earlier at the weekend that Chikosi had disowned a purported recent resolution by Empowerment Corporation which sought to oust lawyer Gerald Mlotshwa from Telecel’s board — as has been claimed by the network operator’s chairperson James Makamba.

But no sooner had this information reached the media than Chikosi flatly denied ever doing so, claiming instead that he had allegedly been duped to sign documents to this effect by Makamba’s rivals.

This development comes as Makamba is said to be working to annul a May 2017 agreement that he had to sell his majority stake Kestrel Corporation shareholding in Empowerment Corporation to businessman George Manyere and Mlotshwa — which has apparently since attracted a $3 million lawsuit from Manyere relating to a deposit given to Makamba for the deal.

“I wish to state that I was neither party to any of the new revelations nor to any Board meetings, as both (contending) parties’ records should show.

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

This also comes as Mlotshwa, in a counter move, is said to be taking steps to remove Makamba from the Telecel board.

Contacted for a comment by the Daily News, Makamba said he had “no comment” to make. Efforts to reach Mlotshwa and Manyere were unsuccessful.

Meanwhile, Mlotshwa has asked Telecel chief executive Angeline Vere to ignore Makamba’s recent directive regarding his board position at 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, Makamba was to get $13 million and for which a $3 million deposit was duly paid.

Sources close to the goings-on said Makamba appeared to be exploiting the fact that the intended purchasers of his shares had not fully paid for the his Empowerment Corporation stake, as well as delays that had dogged the implementation of the deal at the height of Zanu PF’s succession fights during the last days in power of ousted former president Robert Mugabe.

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