HARARE, July 3 (The Source) – Telecel Zimbabwe, which is currently embroiled in a legal battle with government over the cancellation of its operating licence on Friday said it had paid its licence fee for June as part of the $137,5 million it owes to government.
In April government cancelled the company’s licence saying it had failed to comply with local ownership regulations despite constant warnings and reminders over the past 15 years of its existence. The government said Telecel had also violated its licence renewal fee payment plan with the telecommunications ministry, a charge the firm has vehemently refuted.
However, in May the firm got a temporary reprieve to continue operating after the High Court suspended cancellation of its licence pending finalisation of its legal fight with the government.
Telecel however, maintained that it was up to date with its payment after it agreed with government and Potraz to a payment plan for the firm to pay the $137,5 million over an extended period. In terms of that agreement, Telecel would pay a commitment fee of $14 million upon signing the deal, with the balance being cleared over a period of seven years.
However government, said Telecel had paid $8 million and took 19 months to pay the outstanding $6 million.
“Telecel is happy to announce that we have paid the licence installment that was due for the month of June in line with our agreement with POTRAZ (the regulator). We are already preparing for the next installment which is due in December this year in accordance with our contract with the regulator,” the company said in a statement without disclosing the amount paid.
The company said it remained fully committed to working with the government to “meet and better all legal, financial, operational and regulatory requirements within the agreed time frames.”
Last month, the company appointed Angeline Vere as its new chief executive.
Vere, who was the company’s general manager was appointed with effect from June 10. She joined the telco as a legal manager in 2004 before being promoted to company secretary and legal director in 2010.
Telecel is Zimbabwe’s third biggest mobile operator with 2,4 million subscribers.
Amsterdam-headquartered communications firm VimpelCom owns 60 percent of the firm, with the remaining 40 percent being controlled by Empowerment Corporation (EC), a local consortium.