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Telecel Zimbabwe denies non-payment of licence allegations

Telecel Zimbabwe denies it has failed to pay its licence.

Country’s second largest mobile operator says it is on track to pay the $137.5mn amount.

Zimbabwe’s second largest mobile operator Telecel has denied it is falling behind with payments for its operating licence in the country.

Government officials have been quoted on Thursday as saying that the telecoms firm, which has 2.5 million subscribers, is behind with payments regarding its licence.

The Posts and Telecommunications Regulatory Authority of Zimbabwe (Potraz) renewed Telecel's operating licence late last year for a 20 year tenure at a cost of $137.5 million.

And Telecel has on late Thursday released a statement saying it is on track to meet this payment.

“Telecel entered into negotiations which resulted in an agreement with the Regulatory Authority together with the then parent Ministry of Transport and Communications and the Ministry of Finance to pay the licence fee over an agreed period with a deposit of $14 million being paid forthwith,” says the company’s general manager Angeline Vere.

“Our records at hand will confirm that instructions to pay the deposit were immediately processed through our banks. Both banks have confirmed to both regulatory and Ministry officials the obligation they have to Telecel to meet this commitment,” adds Vere.

Vere adds that “the next installment is due to be paid in December 2014 and Telecel is geared to meet this obligation as per the agreed payment plan with government.”

Controversy dogged Telecel’s operating licence last year as Zimbabwe’s government criticised the firm for not meeting the country’s indigenisation rules, which states that foreign owned companies should cede 51% of their shares to black Zimbabwean groups.

Telecel is majority owned by Egypt’s Orascom.

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