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9Mobile | Lawmaker threatens to halt sales deal

9Mobile | Lawmaker threatens to halt sales deal

Saheed Akinade-Fijabi, Chairman, House Committee on Telecommunications, has threatened that the House of Representatives may be forced to stop the ongoing sale of 9Mobile to Teleology Holdings.

He disclosed this while reacting to petitions and concerns raised by government regulatory agencies, Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), for telecoms and Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), for banking sector and some vendors allegedly owed by 9Mobile.

It had earlier been reported that ahead of the March 22 deadline set by the Financial Advisers, Teleology said it has transferred a non-refundable completion deposit of $50 million to the Trustee for the bank syndicate presently holding ownership of 9Mobile. The preferred bidder for the deal had reeled out its 10-point agenda to transform the fourth largest mobile phone company in Nigeria.

9mobile formerly Etisalat Nigeria, defaulted on a $1.2 billion loan it had obtained from a consortium of 13 banks led by GT Bank. This led to the parent company Etisalat of the UAE pulling out and relinquishing its 45%stake in the telco.

The banks threatened to take over the firm but were prevented from doing so by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC).

An interim board chaired by a Deputy Governor of the CBN was subsequently appointed. The interim board then announced a bid process.

The Central Bank also promised to carry out a financial check on the winner of the sale while the NCC will focus on the buyer’s technical competence and quality service to its subscribers.

Umar Dambatta, NCC Executive Vice Chairman disproved reports on the payment of $50 million non- refundable fee allegedly paid by the preferred bidder, Teleology Holdings.

Dambatta denied any knowledge of the account the money was paid into. A representative of the CBN also denied the payment of such fund.

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