Makamba “Sells” Telecel Stake.


After numerous attempts and failures to sell the Telecel stake to the then Brainworks under Goerge Manyere, Today we have another headline that indicates that James Makamba has sold his stake. 

The initial attempt was made in 2015, where Brainworks had sought to acquire the shareholding for $20 million but failure to get a concrete agreement for EC shareholders saw the investment management company withdrawing its offer for the stake.

George Manyere who was then the Brain works CEO, seems to have continued gunning for the Telecel stake, outside the Brainworks investment, which makes this a rather personal investment for his new consortium. 

Sources familiar with the developments told Business Weekly this week that the agreements related to the disposal of Dr Makamba’ s shareholding were recently signed. Business Weekly has it on good authority that in February this year, Dr Makamba agreed to restructure and sell his shareholding in EC during an extra extraordinary general meeting.

Telcel Zimbabwe Shareholders structure

Commenting on the matter then, the ICT Postal and Courier services minister Mandiwanzira  said,

The Government is very clear that Telecel was founded on the basis of empowering Zimbabwean people in various walks of life among them war veterans, small-scale miners, women in business and members of the Affirmative Action Group, among others.

The Government is very clear that Telecel was founded on the basis of empowering Zimbabwean people in various walks of life among them war veterans, small-scale miners, women in business and members of the Affirmative Action Group, among others.

“Somehow along the way, the intended beneficiaries have cried foul and squabbling among the shareholders has stunted growth at the mobile operator. Therefore, our intention is very simple. We are taking over 100 percent to clean it up, and anyone intending to do some side transactions must take note of this serious Government interest.”

According to the initial agreement of 2015,  Dr James Makamba signed the Memorandum of Understanding representing Kestrel Corporation, while Mr George Manyere stood in for Brainworks Capital Management.

Kestrel Corporation is wholly-owned by Dr Makamba and holds significant shareholding in Empowerment Corporation.

Other signatories to the deal are Mrs Jane Mutasa, representing Empowerment Corporation, and Mr Ian Temba of ABSA Wealth, a division of ABSA.

Dr Makamba, together with women empowerment lobbyist Dr Jane Mutasa owned the majority shareholding in the EC held shares through Kestrel Corporation.   Government, through Zarnet, gained the majority shareholder in Telecel last year, after acquiring 100 percent equity in Telecel International from Global Telecoms Holdings in a transaction worth $40 million. Telecel International owned 60 percent in Telecel Zimbabwe.

This restructuring, which takes into account certain legacy issues relating to EC shareholding wrangles, included the disposal of Dr Makamba’s shareholding to  Manyere and  Mlotshwa, whose interests are represented in a local special purpose vehicle.

Mlotshwa,  Manyere and Walter Kambwanji were subsequently appointed as directors of EC, along with Dr Mutasa. The EC has since called for an EGM Telecel Zimbabwe this month “for the purposes of installing a functional board of directors” representing the interests of both the Government and EC, the sources said.

Dr Makamba’s resignation thereof will be become effective upon the assumption of   Mlotshwa and  Manyere to the board of directors of Telecel Zimbabwe.

“Importantly the extra ordinary general meeting will give effect to the signed resignation of Dr Makamba as the chairman and director of Telecel Zimbabwe with effect from 21st June, 2017. However, the resignation cannot take effect until this EGM has been held as one of its purposes is to confirm that all the conditions relating to the disposal of Dr Makamba’s beneficial interest in Telecel Zimbabwe have been met.”

Dr Mutasa would be retained as a director with Government expected to nominate four directors to represent its interests. “The ICT Minister is well aware of the disposal having being personally briefed by   Mlotshwa on a number of occasions,” said sources.

While ICT Minister Supa Mandiwanzira has on a number of occasions expressed the Government’s interests in acquiring EC’s shareholding in light of his stated Cabinet mandate to buy the entire shareholding in the country’s third largest mobile company, the sources said “this interest is yet to be formalized in the form of a written offer.”

But in an interview, Minister Mandiwanzira said Government was working on acquiring the entire shareholding in the company. We are going for 100 percent in Telecel,” he said.

If the formal offer is made before August 16, the extraordinary general meeting might not be held.

Tari Mudahondo

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