Reps Threaten to Stop Sale of 9mobile

By Dipo Olowookere

Nigeria’s House of Representatives has threatened to stop the sale of 9mobile after Executive Vice Chairman of the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), Mr Umar Dambatta, said his agency was yet to receive the $50 million reported in the media to have been paid by Teleology Holdings Limited as deposit for being the preferred bidder.

During a hearing organised by the lower parliament, Chairman of House Committee on Telecommunications, Mr Saheed Fijabi, stressed that the sale may likely be restarted because of issues arising from the bidding process.

The committee inaugurated a panel to address petitions and concerns raised by some of the vendors owed by 9mobile as well as the NCC and the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).

During the hearing, the NCC boss said the regulatory body was yet to receive payment of the $50 million non-refundable fee allegedly paid by the preferred bidder, Teleology Holdings, a claim a representative of the CBN also affirmed.

Teleology Holdings was announced by Barclays Africa, the transaction adviser, as the preferred bidder with Smile Communications named as the alternative bidder.

9mobile, formerly Etisalat Nigeria, was put up for sale after it defaulted on a $1.2 billion loan it obtained from a consortium of 13 banks.

Its parent company and main investor, Etisalat Group UAE, which has 45 percent stake in the firm, pull out of the business.

It later requested that its brand name should no longer be used in Nigeria, which necessitated the change of name to 9mobile.

9mobile is presently being run by an interim board set up by the CBN and the NCC.

Dipo Olowookere is a journalist based in Nigeria that has passion for reporting business news stories. At his leisure time, he watches football and supports 3SC of Ibadan. Mr Olowookere can be reached via dipo.olowookere@businesspost.ng

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