House of Reps faults Teleology takeover of 9mobile

The House of Representatives’ Committee on Telecommunications on Wednesday told the Nigeria Communications Commission (NCC) to stop Teleology from claiming ownership of 9mobile.

The committee gave the directive after the Executive Vice-Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of the NCC, Umar Danbatta, appeared before it to explain issues surrounding the sale of 9mobile.
The committee accused the commission of selling the telecoms company to Teleology without the knowledge of the lawmakers. But the NCC denied being part of the sale of 9mobile to Teleology.
According to the commission, the transaction was between the consortium of banks who took over the company from Etisalat and the new operator. It explained further that it had yet to issue an operational licence to Teleology.
Recall that Teleology had announced its takeover of the troubled telecom firm on November 12. The company also announced the constitution of a new Board of Directors for 9mobile.
A statement by the company said the decision followed a successful completion of the tenure of the former Board appointed by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and in fulfilment of the consequential transfer of final ownership to the new investors, Teleology Nigeria Limited.
“We thank all out-going members of the Board for helping to shepherd 9mobile through the critical transition phase it has passed through since July 2017 and wish them the very best in their future assignments,” the statement, signed by Mohammed Edewor, said.
But Punch reports Friday that on Wednesday evening, the House of Representatives’ committee expressed worry over the purported take-over.
“The last time we met, our decision was for everybody to go back and that anything that was happening on the sale, take-over or transfer of licence, the committee should know about it,” said Saheed Akinade-Fijabi, chairman of the committee. “Unfortunately, the committee read on the pages of newspapers that Teleology had taken over 9mobile.
“We as a committee do not know anybody called Teleology because they have never appeared before this committee. I believe that NCC should know whoever Teleology is and be able to help us to call them. Unfortunately, they are not here again today.”
In his response, Danbatta claimed that NCC had yet to issue a new operational licence to Teleology apart from the one issued to the former owners.
“Let me say again that no license has been transferred,” he said. “The licence in the possession of EMTS which traded in the past as Etisalat and later with the approval of the NCC, as 9mobile, is still with EMTS.
“I want to assure this House that the operational licence of EMTS as well as the spectrum, these two licences are still with EMTS. No requests have been made by any new owners.”
“It is a marketing gimmick, Chairman.
Following Danbatta’s presentation, Akinade-Fijabi said Teleology should stop parading itself as having taken over the troubled firm.
“With what NCC is saying now, they should stop parading themselves as someone who has taken over 9mobile,” he said.
The proposed sale of the telecoms firm has been characterised by controversies for many months.
Earlier in August, confusion hit the bid for the company after several months of negotiations as the NCC said it had ordered fresh due diligence on the preferred bidder selected for the telecom firm.
Danbatta had said that the fresh due diligence ordered by the commission would help determine whether Teleology Holdings has the requisite technical competence and financial capacity to successfully operate the troubled telecommunications firm.
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