ECONET Wireless Kenya (EWK) on Wednesday said it is now ready to implement an accelerated rollout of its mobile network following a High Court ruling on March 2 that has removed the last hurdle
preventing the company from becoming Kenya’s third cellular phone operator.
The company’s director responsible for the Kenya project, Zachary Wazara, said in a statement that Econet is excited that it is now able to proceed with the network rollout which had been stalled by the legal challenges brought about by two parties who were originally minority shareholders in the Econet-led bidding consortium.
In its ruling, the court found in Econet’s favour, agreeing with Econet that the Kenyan National Federation of Co-operatives (KNFC) and another consortium member, Rapsel, had concealed relevant agreements and correspondence between KNFC and EWK concerning the co-operative’s delay and inability to raise funding to finance the purchase of their allocation of shares in the consortium that had been awarded a 15-year GSM licence by the Communications Commission of Kenya (CCK).
“It is a general business principle that in order to own shares, you must put up your money. Unfortunately, since this project began, EWK never received any money from the two minority shareholders – even for simple administrative requirements,” said Wazara.
“Following the court’s welcome ruling, we can now finally proceed with our planned rollout of the third mobile network in Kenya. We have already purchased network equipment which is now expected to arrive in Kenya shortly,” he said.He confirmed that shares in EWK that were supposed to be acquired by the two shareholders would be sold to other interested Kenyan investors.
“We have received a lot of inquiries from Kenyan institutions who want these shares and we will certainly meet our obligations under the licence agreement which stipulates that Kenyan stakeholders must hold a minimum of 30% of communication investments,” said Wazara.
He said Econet is keen to play a pivotal role in providing an efficient telecommunications service to Kenya as it is a vital component in the economic development of any country which requires “serious investors with the interests of the nation at heart”.