12 January 2018

Tanzania: State - Airtel Deal Stinking

FINANCE and Planning Minister Philip Mpango has revealed that the privatisation of Tanzania Telecommunication Company Limited (TTCL)'s subsidiary mobile company to Celtel, subsequently acquired by Zain and eventually Airtel, was clouded with gross violation of the laws and regulations of the land.

Based on the irregularities in the privatisation deal, the government, which owns 40 per cent stake in Airtel, is out to engage the management of the telecom firm to reclaim the remaining 60 per cent shares.

Dr Mpango made the disclosure when handing over to President John Magufuli at State House in Dar es Salaam yesterday, a report by the probe team formed by the Finance minister to get to the bottom of Airtel's ownership structure.

On December 20, last year, the Head of State directed Dr Mpango to scrutinise the deal and submit a report to him on the issue. "The things we have discovered in our inquiry are irritating and very disturbing.

In short we were cheated; a lot of money has been lost. The engagement with the investor aims at ensuring that Tanzanians get their fair share of the deal," Dr Mpango remarked as he handed over the report.

Speaking last year at a news conference, the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of TTCL, Mr Waziri Kindamba, came out strongly and stressed that it was high time Airtel Tanzania Limited surrendered the company to TTCL. "That company, (Airtel) was obtained illegally and in that case there is no anyway whatsoever that it can operate legallyin the country," he emphatically remarked.

Mr Kindamba stated categorically that there were no grudges between the government and Airtel Tanzania Limited, but TTCL was applying a diplomatic approach to have sole ownership of Airtel.

In early August 2005, Celtel Tanzania and TTCL were legally separated, allowing each to administer its own financial and business operations. In this new (duly signed) agreement between the Tanzanian Government and Celtel Tanzania, TTCL's shareholding structure remained unchanged, with the government of Tanzania holding 65 per cent and Celtel International the remaining 35 per cent.

Celtel Tanzania's structure was subsequently changed, to abide by the government's decision to sell a 25 per cent stake to Celtel International for $28 million.

Meanwhile, Dr Magufuli has received a report from the Minister of Health, Community Development, Gender, Elderly and Children, Ms Ummy Mwalimu, on the directives he issued last year, during the launch of the teaching campus of the Muhimbili University of Health and Allied Sciences (MUHAS) at Mloganzila.

President Magufuli had instructed that some departments, doctors and patients be transferred to the new health facility from the Muhimbili National Hospital (MNH). He also directed that all regional hospitals be placed under the Health ministry from the President's Office (Regional Administration and Local Government Authorities).

Ms Mwalimu was accompanied by some members of the management from MNH, Muhimbili Orthopaedic Institute (MOI), MUHAS and the Jakaya Kikwete Cardiac Institute (JKCI).

In another development, the Minister for Justice and Constitutional Affairs, Prof Palamagamba Kabudi, has finalised the formulation of regulations for enforcement of the Mining Act Number 7 of 2017 and made a submission to the Chief Secretary, Ambassador John Kijazi.

According to a statement issued by the Directorate of Presidential Communications, Prof Kabudi was accompanied by the two deputy ministers for minerals, Mr Stanslaus Nyongo and Mr Doto Biteko, who was recently appointed to the position.


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