Friday, October 08, 2010

Zamtel's sale highlighted among Africa’s questionable telecoms sales

Zamtel's sale highlighted among Africa’s questionable telecoms sales
By Mutale Kapekele in Washington DC
Fri 08 Oct. 2010, 14:00 CAT

THE sale of Zamtel to Lapgreen Networks of Libya is a case in point of questionable telecommunications sales in Africa, a Brussels based telecommunications analyst Ewan Sutherland has charged.

According to a story that was published by the International Herald Tribune, the global edition of the New York Times, Sutherland observed that many telecommunications sales on the continent were far from transparent.

Reently, LapGreenN acquired 75 per cent shares in Zamtel at US $257 million and retrenched more than half of the company’s staff.

“The privatization of telecom companies in many African countries in recent years has been far from transparent, fraught with irregularities and dominated by opaque buyers,” Sutherland observed.

“Zamtel appears to be a case in point. This deal is just the latest in a string of a series of telecommunications sales on the continent as governments scramble to raise cash.”

According to the Tribune, the continent has seen questionable telecommunication deals in countries like Kenya, Nigeria and Ghana.

In the case of Ghana telecommunication, which was taken over by Vodacom after the latter acquired 70 per cent shares in that company, a government appointed investigator discovered that the company was underpaid for its stakes.

In its story, the tribune quoted Transparency International Zambia (TIZ) executive director Goodwell Lungu and articles by The Post to highlight irregularities in the Zamtel saga.

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