AFTER failing in his clandestine bid to buy a stake in Telecel Zimbabwe, Leo Mugabe is now demanding that the telecommunications company surrenders part
of its profits to him. He is also demanding a contract to literally run Telecel Zimbabwe’s technical services department which includes base station installations, maintenance and network expansion.
Mugabe, who has been fighting for a share in Telecel Zimbabwe for the past five years, wants the company to surrender 1% of its annual revenue to his company, Integrated Engineering Group (IEG). He also wants a contract to recruit technical staff on behalf of Telecel Zimbabwe.
Mugabe’s renewed pressure comes after his clandestine bid to acquire 11% of Telecel Zimbabwe from Telecel International collapsed four weeks ago.
His attempt to open negotiations flopped after it emerged that he did not have permission from the Empowerment Corporation which owns 40% in Zimbabwe’s third mobile cellular firm to undertake such a deal. Mugabe claimed in his offer letter that he had permission from the Empowerment Corporation to buy the stake from Telecel International.
Telecel International however told Mugabe that negotiations would not start unless he proved that he had permission from Empowerment Corporation. In the latest overtures, Mugabe is threatening to sue Telecel if they refuse to give him the contracts and a share of the profits.
He is citing a 1997 agreement which he said entitles him to part of the profit and a technical management contract. Mugabe’s lawyers, Debwe & Partners, wrote to Telecel on July 25 instructing them to stop “recruiting technical staff directly without our client’s consent”.
“Generally, you have continued to carry out intricate technical services projects including expansion of your telecommunications infrastructure and network without the services of our client, as your appointed technical partner and project manager,” said the letter. “You have also failed and/or ignored completely to pay to our client the annual fee of 1% of the total revenue earned.”
The letter also said Telecel must stop using any other contractor for technical services.
Mugabe refused to comment when contacted to clarify the issue. “Ini shamwari handina comment. I would rather not comment on the issue,” said Mugabe before hanging up.
Sources at the company said Mugabe’s demands came after Telecel Zimbabwe spurned his offer to buy them telecoms equipment for their latest network expansion programme.
In a letter dated July 14, Mugabe said his company IEG had been approached by international companies that wanted to sell network equipment to Telecel Zimbabwe.
He said IEG would be the go-between for Telecel and the suppliers. He also offered to provide financial assistance for the purchase of the equipment.
Sources said Telecel refused the offer and went ahead to acquire equipment using internal structures. This, sources said, prompted Mugabe to write the letter of demand.