Tigo has come out to dispute reports carried by the media yesterday to the effect that 99 per cent of the the group’s Tanzania subsidiary shares are owned by a British registered company associated with by Yusuf Manji, a Tanzanian billionaire.
The firm this morning published a notice on its website and Twitter handle and stated that the claims that the firm, Golden Globe, has acquired a stake in the telco is “entirely without merit” in response published by The Citizen, a daily newspaper owned by the Nation Media Group (NMG) of Kenya.
“We note the article published in the Citizen of Wednesday 22 of February, and wish to state categorically confirm to our many customers and stakeholders that Tigo continues to be owned by Millicom Tanzania NV… The claim that Golden Globe, a British Virgin Island’s incorporated entity controlled by Mr Yusuf Manji, has acquired shares in Tigo is entirely without merit and is being vigorously and currently contested in the Tanzania courts. We are confident that the courts of Tanzania will resolve this matter appropriately and swiftly,” states the notice. pizhjed
The Citizen article had alleged that lawyers representing Golden Globe had claimed that Yusuf Manji owns 99 per cent of Tigo.
“Brick House Law Associates have sought the stoppage to the planned sale of Tigo shares at the Dar es Salaam Stock Market, terming the move illegal as their client was not consulted. According to the law firm, Golden Globe International Services is the absolute majority shareholder of MIC Tanzania Limited with 34,479 shares of 34,480 shares,” stated the article, adding that the remaining one share is shown to be held by Shai Holdings.
Manji’s link to Golden Globe emerged in the Court of Appeal early this month in a case in which Millicom (Tanzania) N.V. is challenging the manner in which the MIC shares were bought.
“The lawyers claimed Tigo shareholding structure is quoted in a letter sent to the Capital Markets and Securities Authority by a Mr Joseph Ndazi of Brick House Law Associates on behalf of Golden Globe. In the letter dated January 25, Mr Ndazi is seeking a halt to the process to float Tigo shares for sale, warning that the move would be illegal as their client was not involved in preparation of the company and shareholder prospectus that are key to the process. The letter is copied to nine different authorities in government that are involved in one way or the other in the dispute and in the public share listing,” states the article.
The Tanzanian government has given an ultimatum to the country’s telco’s to list their shares at the Dar-es-Salaam Stock Exchange by offering a 25 per cent stake for sale to the public with Vodacom, Tigo and Airtel all indicating that they are on course with the process.
According to IPO rules, to be allowed to proceed, a company is required to strike a balance in their shareholding books so that they can change the statuses from being Private Limited Companies to Public Companies. According to the Golden Globe lawyers, their client is aggrieved that he has not been told on what basis the Tigo prospectus was being prepared.
The lawyers argued that even though MIC Tanzania Limited has sought to challenge the shareholding structure in court, earlier orders granting the 99 per cent shareholding of the company to Golden Globe stands. According to the letter, Golden Globe bought the 34,479 MIC shares at a public auction in Dar es Salaam on November 5, 2014 after they were reportedly put on sale on orders of the high court for the execution of the decree in favour of James Russel Bell of UK. Bell had in 2002 sued Millicom International Cellular S.A., the parent company of MIC Tanzania, before the said sale of majority shares took place. Bell is said to have been a senior director in the company.
In the current court of appeal case, Millicom International claims the sale of the shares was fraught with irregularities. Reports show the shares were bought for a sum of Tshs 13 billion (US $5.85 million). The court has summoned Mr Bell to the hearing of the dispute through a public notice issued early this month.
Tigo launched its operations in Tanzania in 1994 and in 2015 Tigo launched 4G LTE network in Dar es Salaam and selected regions with plans to become available all over the country in 2017.
Tigo is a commercial brand of Millicom, which which has affiliates in 12 countries in Africa and Latin America and corporate offices in Europe and the USA.