VimpelCom duped in Telecel $40mln deal; vital information withheld

HARARE – National Social Security Authority (NSSA), ZARNet  a wholly owned by the Government withheld vital information from Amsterdam-based VimpelCom Ltd  in an contract marred by irregularities, documents in possession of theZimbabwenewslive.com can reveal.

The Ministry of Information and Communication Technology, Postal and Courier Services headed by Supa Mandiwanzira

The revelations came after VimpelCom Ltd has announced  through a press release that its 51,9 percent owned subsidiary, Global Telecom Holding S.A.E. has entered into an agreement with Government’s ZARNet to sell its stake in Telecel International Limited for  $40 million.Telecel International owns 60% of Telecel Zimbabwe (Pvt) Ltd. Transfer of ownership to ZARNet will occur after customary conditions are satisfied.

Confidential correspondence in TheZimbabweannewslive.com ’s possession, states that on September 23, 2015, minister of Information Supa Mandiwanzira wrote to NSSA board chairperson Robin Vela instructing NSSA to guarantee the financing of the deal – with no equity being offered to the company.

 “Zarnet, through the Ministry, has commitment of funding from a third party approved by my principal. 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,” reads Mandiwanzira’s e-mail to Vela.
Vela went on to say “All these arrangements  to be documented outside VimpelCom-so they have no need to see them including the transfer of the token equity and loans to NSSA”
On the same day the NSSA board chairperson indicated in an e-mail to the minster that NSSA’s Investment and team committee as well as management fiercely resisted financing the deal during a meeting.
They argued that the transaction was outside NSSA’s realm of administering pensioners’ funds with the sole objective of securing the capital and gaining a return. “NSSA does not lend funds direct to any company.
It lends to banks to on-lend to the productive sector, but under strict and limited conditions. The Telecel transaction would not qualify as such,” wrote Vela to Mandiwanzira.
In the letter, Vela said the committee and the management only reluctantly agreed to finance the deal after Priscah Mupfumira, the Minister of Labour and Social Welfare, also directed NSSA to execute the transaction as earlier ordered by Mandiwanzira.
Ironically Nssa was part of a consortium comprising Old Mutual and CBZ which has been vigorously pushing the takeover of Telecel – until the consortium was elbowed out by the government to make way for Zarnet.
VimpelCom Head of Media Relations ,Artem Minaev  declined to comment when contacted by this paper late Wednesday. – The Zimbabwe News Live
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