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Mr Gwanda Chakuamba (2003)

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Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Muluzi wanted stakes in Mobile operator
02:23:52 - 01 March 2006

ECONET Wireless, a company that has acquired majority shares in Telekom Networks Limited (TNM) said the investors had wanted to roll out a third mobile phone company but pulled out of the deal when it was discovered former President Bakili Muluzi wanted stakes in the deal, The Business Times has learnt.The company spokesperson, Sure Kamhunga said the company had submitted proposals to Malawi Communications Regulatory Authority (Macra) to roll out a third mobile phone but lost on political grounds.But Muluzi's spokesperson and former minister of commerce Sam Mpasu has dismissed the allegations as baseless, saying they are aimed at tarnishing the good business acumen of the former president.However, the merchant revealed on the sidelines of an Econet sponsored dinner for Malawian journalists at Zimbabwe's Meikels Hotel in Harare that his company pulled out because of political interference.He said he was shocked to hear from Malawi Communications Regulatory Authority (Macra) that any company that wanted to do business in the mobile industry was expected to work with Muluzi's Atupele Properties Limited.But Mpasu said in an interview yesterday that when he took over from Brown Mpinganjira in 1998 as minister of information, he passed the Communication Act that paved the way for the formation of an independent regulatory authority."Previously, applications for licences were going through the minister but this time around we wanted Macra to be responsible," Mpasu said.Adding: "So there is no way Dr Muluzi would influence the activities of Macra."The third mobile licence was granted to Malawi Mobile Limited (MML) with Muluzi's interests well taken care of under the directorship of his son Atupele.However, MML is locked in a legal battle with government over the issue of nullification of the mobile licence in 2005.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I am told that he MML liscence was removed for entirely political reasons. Why pull out of deal when one could just deny involvement of the FMR President? What kind of influencial power do the Muluzi's have over the institutions that govern the issuing of liscences and so forth?