Airtel Tanz ownership may be resolved soon


Indian investor Bharti Airtel, which holds 60 per cent shares in Airtel Tanzania, has urged the Tanzanian government to share its findings on the controversial privatisation of the company.

The company is working to harmonise its relations with the government following President Magufuli’s directive to the finance minister in December to the effect that the state telecommunications company should take over ownership of Airtel Tanzania.

The government holds that Airtel was owned by state-run Tanzania Telecommunications Company Limited (TTCL) before shares were switched through irregular transfer of shares.

However, in a statement released Saturday, Bharti Airtel said it intends to work closely with the government of Tanzania “…to resolve any doubts or concerns to the satisfaction” of the government and all other stakeholders.

It, however, said it would need support and collaboration from the previous shareholders, directors and officers of MSI to be able to provide any necessary facts and a satisfactory explanation.

“Bharti Airtel, as a major foreign investor in Tanzania, remains committed to the Tanzanian market and will take all steps to protect its businesses, employees, partners, and investments in Airtel Tanzania,” reads part of Bharti Airtel’s in a statement.

On Thursday, Finance and Planning minister Dr Philip Mpango submitted to the government a dossier containing specific findings on the transfer of government shares in Airtel Tanzania from TTCL to MSI Systems International Cellular Investments BV (MSI).

According to Dr Mpango, the government has chosen to negotiate rather than take the legal route, and were therefore happy with Bharti Airtel’s demonstrated willingness to negotiate.

The government of Tanzania is arguing that it received peanuts from its investments in the creation of Airtel Tanzania and therefore wants to reclaim its investment.

Bharti Airtel on the other hand claims that the transfer of shares from TTCL to MSI followed due process and had credible witnesses including representatives from the World Bank, United Kingdom and the United States of America.

Bharti further said the government was paid the full amount of its due in each step of the privatisation process.

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