The Zimbabwe government through cabinet has blocked the ICT Parliamentary portfolio from inquiring of the agreement of sale between the Russian Based Vimplecom and the Ministry Of ICT , under Zarnet, TechnoMag has learnt.
In a letter gleaned by TechnoMag, The ministry of ICT Postal and Courier Services advised the ICT Parliamentary portfolio that it can not show them the requested Purchase agreement of sale, between Government and Vimplecom.
Part of the letter read:
“We do hereby advise that this agreement was a result of a cabinet resolution which makes it a private and confidential document and therefore not to be shared, we therefore are not privy to release a cabinet document unless express authority is granted by the cabinet”
The contents of the agreement have been shrouded in mystery as government is yet to own a shareholders certificate, although it claims it owns 60% of the Telecel International stake.
However many questions boggle the mind as government has failed to practice full authority over Telecel Issues with major investment issues crippling the operation of the entity, while the recent boardroom coups, toppling Government official, makes government a lame duck.
The last official update we received from the then ICT minister Hon Supa Mandiwanzira stated that the government had paid the Russian based company the full balance, but the money was still in some Escrow account, neither could we confirm if at all it had hit their nostro account due to foreign currency issues.
Finance minister Mthuli Ncube responded to TechnoMag that they could not give Telecel deal a priority when the country is already under serious financial stress with daily needs like ZESA and with lack of foreign currency, he was going to settle the issue in time
The Initial Deposit of $10 million paid to Telecel is the only that had been confirmed to have hit the Russians account, while NSSA entered into a buy back agreement with Zarnet, and supplied the remaining $30million
Nssa facilitated the acquisition of 100% equity in Telecel International (which owns 60% of Telecel Zimbabwe) by ZARnet through a transfer and buy-back agreement. This was achieved through a US$30 million mezzanine financing arrangement with NSSA.
The NSSA Board made the decision to exit from the Telecel transaction. The exit structure would see NSSA, on a secured basis, being paid US$43,25 million in quarterly installments over a three year period with a resultant internal rate of return of approximately 16%. The first payment of US$7 million was received in the second quarter of 2017.
We could not confirm if NSSA is still receiving payments from Zarnet.
Some rumors allege that the government of Zimbabwe offered a platinum mining deal to the Russian based Vimplecom, which is connected to the Kremlin. They may have been offered more mining concessions as security for the transaction as foreign currency challenges continue to bite.
Overall, the Telecel deal remains in balance, a lot needs to be done to get this asset up and running, it used to be the fastest and most promising telco in Zimbabwe, but currently its slowly bleeding with less revenue and serious subscriber and staff loss.