Self-exiled businessman James Makamba (right) has sold his stake in Empowerment Corporation, a 40 percent shareholder in Telecel Zimbabwe to a local consortium for an undisclosed amount.
However, with ink barely dry on the deal, the Government is understood to have made a massive $26 million offer to buy out the local consortium owned businessman George Manyere and prominent lawyer Gerald Mlotshwa.
Dr Makamba, together with women empowerment lobbyist Dr Jane Mutasa owned the majority shareholding in the EC held shares through Kestrel Corporation. Government, through Zarnet, gained the majority shareholder in Telecel last year, after acquiring 100 percent equity in Telecel International from Global Telecoms Holdings in a transaction worth $40 million. Telecel International owned 60 percent in Telecel Zimbabwe.
Sources familiar with the developments told Business Weekly this week that the agreements related to the disposal of Dr Makamba’ s shareholding were recently signed. Business Weekly has it on good authority that in February this year, Dr Makamba agreed to restructure and sell his shareholding in EC during an extra extraordinary general meeting.
This restructuring, which takes into account certain legacy issues relating to EC shareholding wrangles, included the disposal of Dr Makamba’s shareholding to Manyere and Mlotshwa, whose interests are represented in a local special purpose vehicle.
Mlotshwa, Manyere and Walter Kambwanji were subsequently appointed as directors of EC, along with Dr Mutasa. The EC has since called for an EGM Telecel Zimbabwe this month “for the purposes of installing a functional board of directors” representing the interests of both the Government and EC, the sources said.
“A notice to that effect has already been circulated to all relevant parties and the EGM will be held on August 16 (this year),” said one source who requested not to be named. “Presently, the (Telecel) board comprises only of Dr Makamba as chairman and Dr Mutasa. It is imperative that the operations of Telecel are overseen by a fully functional board. Dr Makamba’s resignation thereof will be become effective upon the assumption of Mlotshwa and Manyere to the board of directors of Telecel Zimbabwe.
“Importantly the extra ordinary general meeting will give effect to the signed resignation of Dr Makamba as the chairman and director of Telecel Zimbabwe with effect from 21st June, 2017. However, the resignation cannot take effect until this EGM has been held as one of its purposes is to confirm that all the conditions relating to the disposal of Dr Makamba’s beneficial interest in Telecel Zimbabwe have been met.”
Dr Mutasa would be retained as a director with Government expected to nominate four directors to represent its interests. “The ICT Minister is well aware of the disposal having being personally briefed by Mlotshwa on a number of occasions,” said sources.
While ICT Minister Supa Mandiwanzira has on a number of occasions expressed the Government’s interests in acquiring EC’s shareholding in light of his stated Cabinet mandate to buy the entire shareholding in the country’s third largest mobile company, the sources said “this interest is yet to be formalized in the form of a written offer.”
But in an interview, Minister Mandiwanzira said Government was working on acquiring the entire shareholding in the company. We are going for 100 percent in Telecel,” he said.
If the formal offer is made before August 16, the extraordinary general meeting might not be held.