Mahwindi bounces back at Telecel

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Africa Moyo
Former Telecel Zimbabwe CEO Francis Mahwindi, who was fired in 2013, has bounced back at the telecommunications firm, this time as a board member.

Mahwindi left Telecel amid official reports that he wanted to “pursue other opportunities outside the group”. However, sources then alleged that he had turned down proposals by some shareholders’ to “siphon funds” out of the firm.

He immediately dragged the company to the Labour Court where he demand $1 million as damages for unfair dismissal in lieu of reinstatement. Mawindi was sacked just nine months into his three year contract.

Ironically, Mahwindi was booted out by the board led by Dr James Makamba, which met in Egypt, during the time he was in self-exile.

The meeting became infamously known as a “bush court”.

But in a dramatic turn of events, Mahwindi joined other board of directors on Wednesday this week where a number of issues, including network expansion and capital investment options, were discussed.

The board of directors also has Selby Hwacha, Dr James Makamba as chairperson, Dr Jane Mutasa, Barbra Rwodzi and Gerald Mlotshwa.

It has emerged that Dr Makamba had sold his interest in EC, through which he has interest in Telecel after a consortium led by Harare entrepreneur Gorge Manyere helped the formerly exiled businessman pay off a debt to Absa.

Business Weekly understands that while Dr Makamba continued to flex his muscles at Telecel, he had sold his stake in EC, but failed to deliver the shares to the local consortium, meaning he had ceased to have control over EC or Telecel’s affairs.

Contacted for comment Dr Makamba’s son Zororo Makamba however refuted claims his father sold his shares in EC, saying “that deal never finalised. … This was months ago too. (It is) odd that it is being talked about now.”

“Telecel Zimbabwe’s new full board of directors after a successful meeting where members from both shareholders were represented. The meeting covered network expansion and capital investment options among other topical strategic issues,” said Dr Makamba.

Sources said Telecel was planning to raise about $400 million to boost its operations. Makamba (Zororo) also said the board meeting, the first since Government took majority control in 2016, discussed several strategic issues regarding the growth of Telecel going forward.

The board meeting comes when boardroom wars primarily over the ownership of the company continue unabated. Though Government now controls 60 percent after buying out Vimpelcom, EC’s ownership remains hazy. The Government’s interest in Telecel Zimbabwe is held through State owned ISP Zarnet.

Recently, Magamba Echimurenga Trust chairperson Andrew Ndlovu approached the High Court seeking an interdict barring all entities connected to Telecel from holding meetings on, and selling shares in the Empowerment Corporation.

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