By Emmanuel Elebeke
ABUJA: The Executive Vice Chairman of the Nigerian Communications Commission, NCC, Prof. Umar Danbatta has debunked the claim by a media report that $100m dent burden is stalling the transfer of ownership of 9mobile to Teleology Holdings Limited, the company declared winner of the bidding process by Barclays Africa.
The EVC made the clarification on Wednesday while feuding questions from journalist at the NCC 2nd Stakeholders Forum with Academia & Industry held in Abuja.
He described the report as baseless and unfounded, as he never gave out such information to the media in South Africa as claimed by the report.
‘‘I will like to disabuse your mind on that claim. I will like to inform all Nigerians that there was never such a statement,’’ he said.
A media report had quoted the EVC on Wednesday as saying that a debt burden of $100 million was delaying the transfer of ownership of 9mobile to Teleology Holdings Limited, the company declared winner of the bidding process by Barclays Africa.
The report had also quoted Prof. Danbatta as saying that due diligence report on the capability of Teleology to purchase 9mobile is also held up by the debt.
“Barclays Africa, the financial adviser handling the sale of 9mobile announced Teleology Holdings Limited as the preferred bidder of 9mobile and Smile Telecoms Holding as the reserve bidder in the ongoing sale of 9mobile.
“Now, the spectrum licence of 9mobile belongs to Emerging Markets Telecommunication Services (EMTS), but trading as 9mobile. Teleology had since paid a non-refundable deposit of $50 million and the record is there to show for it and we have verified the payment. Teleology also paid $251 million into an escrow account of the Central Bank of Nigeria,” the report said.
Recall that a telecom company, Teleology won the auction of the firm previously known as Etisalat, with a $1 million margin over Smile.
Following this development, the company was then directed by Barclays Africa to pay an initial fee of $50 million within 21 days of its bid win and the balance of $251 million in 90 days. The deadline for the first payment expired on March 21, while the second expired on the July 25. Both tranches of imbursements have been made, but Teleology would have to wait till the said debt is paid back to equipment manufacturers like Nokia, Huawei and IHS.