Telecel takeover: Mandiwanzira railroaded NSSA into submission

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IT has emerged that former Minister of Information Communication Technology and Cyber Security Supa Mandiwanzira railroaded the National Social Security Authority’s (NSSA) into submission in the purchase of mobile network service provider Telecel.

Government with the assistance of Mandiwanzira seized control of Telecel Zimbabwe after concluding the US$40 million deal buying out international telecommunications giant, VimpelCom, which ultimately held 60% in the local company.

The then NSSA board chairman Robin Vela was coerced into agreeing to facilitate the deal regardless of the deal being of no benefit to the parastatal.

Through correspondences with Mandiwanzira, Vela was having doubts about the transaction but he railroaded into giving in to the deal.

I believe the transaction would be complicated at this stage if we bring in a new scenario,”Mandiwanzira wrote to Vela.

Be that as it may, can I propose if you consider the following to facilitate the transaction at this 11th hour. I would be most grateful for the support. Firstly, government has agreed to buy Vimplelcom’s receivables at a 50 percent discount it will pay a total of USD$40 million.

“It will pay $0.00 for equity as we do not think there is any equity value. Zarnet,through the Ministry has commitment of funding from a third party approved by my principal but not ideal to share identity with Vimpelcom, to pay off the balance.

“Zarnet has raised USD$7 million deposit which will be paid on signing. After which it will have 90 days to pay off the balance. All I would appeal for is a commitment in writing from NSSA to ‘finance’ the transaction simply so as to comply with VC’s diligence issues. In the unlikely event of Zarnet failing to pay, you then takeover transaction on the terms you have proposed.

“Otherwise proceeding in the manner you have proposed could derail and possibly scuttle the transaction. There are many issues that would require consultation especially on licensing.”

Investigations revealed that Vela was seemingly put in a corner by an excited Mandiwanzira who was determined to process the transaction.

I need to point out as well that there is a lot of work that would be done on the 40 percent shareholder,” said Mandiwanzira. 

It could be a bruising battle which I do not think NSSA should be at the forefront of at this stage. I could shed some light and will try and call you from China where I am at the moment.”

Vela bent to pressure as his correspondence with Mandiwanzira show him giving in to the pressure regardless of him knowing fully well that the transaction was not above board.

It sounds to me like in essence, all NSSA will be doing is providing a guarantee for the payment of Zarnet which I do believe I can motivate,” Vela said.

Honourable Minister, please understand that I do not want to stand in your way at all. I indeed understand this is your transaction and I am really here to support the same. You are indeed right that NSSA does not have the inclination or desire to be involved in what will be a messy fight with the 40 percent shareholder.”

Source: Zim Morning online news

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