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Fresh confusion trails Teleology claims on 9mobile as NCC distances self

More than two weeks after the management of Teleology Holdings Limited (THL), the acclaimed winner of the bid to sale troubled 9mobile, formally Etisalat Nigeria, issued a statement claiming takeover of the firm, the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), has came of hiding to deny any involvement.

Business Hilights had on November 12, published a story that the regulator has remained mute over the teleology’s claims; http://businesshilights.com.ng/7-days-after-ncc-cbn-still-mute-over-teleologys-takeover-of-9mobile/.

However, the cat was let out of the bag last Wednesday week when the House of Representatives’ Committee on Telecommunications grilled the Executive Vice-Chairman of the NCC, Prof. Umar Danbatta, over the sale of 9mobile to Teleology without the knowledge of the lawmakers.

However, the chief executive out rightly denied being part of the sale of 9mobile to Teleology, with a caveat that the transaction was between the consortium of banks (creditors) who took over the company from Etisalat and the new operator.

Prof Danbatta refused to reveal to the Committee that his commission had been carrying out endless regulatory due diligence and competency tests for several months before opening up to inform the lawmakers that it had yet to issue an operational licence to Teleology.

During the opening remarks of the Chairman of the Committee, Mr Saheed Akinade-Fijabi, he recalled that “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. 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.”

However, to the surprise of the Committee member, Prof Danbatta averred that as far as he knows, 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. I don’t know if this was reported in the news you read. 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.”

NCC boss smartly defined the media campaign and press statement of Teleology Holdings Limited as “A marketing gimmick, Mr Chairman.”

Accordingly and based on NCC’s response, the Committee chairman ruled that “With what NCC is saying now, they should stop parading themselves as someone who has taken over 9mobile”.

Efforts to speak with any official of THL failed.

Besides, checks at the corporate head office of 9mobile at Banana Island failed to show any sign of takeover or preparation for.

THL had more than two weeks claimed in a statement that it had constituted a new Board of Directors for the mobile phone company, following the successful completion of the tenure of the former Board appointed by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), the banking industry regulator.

The constitution of the new Board marks the “definitive end” of the long process that has trailed the sale of 9mobile, the new owners say, while adding that the deal has also received the seal of approval of the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), the telecoms industry regulator.

Mohammed Edewor, Non Executive Director of Teleology, announced that the new Chairman of the Board is Alhaji Nasiru Ado Bayero, who has accepted the appointment.

The new Board of Directors included as follows:

Nasiru Ado Bayero (Chairman)

Stephane Beuvelet (Acting Managing Director)

Asega Aliga (Non Executive Director)

Adrian Wood (Non Executive Director)

Mohammed Edewor (Non Executive Director)

Winston Ndubueze Udeh (Non Executive Director)

Abdulrahman Ado (Executive Director)

THL averred that “For us, the composition of the new Board of Directors is another significant milestone, and this follows the issuance of final approval of no objection by the Board of the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) to the effect that the technical and financial bids Teleology submitted for 9mobile met and satisfied all the regulatory requirements. This is indeed the dawn of a new era in the evolution of the 9mobile brand in the Nigerian market.”

In his brief remark, Chairman of the Board, Alhaji Bayero averred that “as we begin this new epochal phase, we wish to thank all the employees who built this viable business. Our debt of gratitude also goes to our subscribers even as we assure them to get ready for real best-in-class additional value for their relationship with the 9mobile brand. Without you, there could not have been a 9mobile business for us to invest in today”.

It would be recalled that CBN in collaboration with the NCC, had in July 2017 appointed a Board of Directors chaired by Dr. Joseph Nnanna, the Deputy Governor of the CBN, to oversee the affairs of the company pending the completion of regulatory due diligence of the bid documents submitted by Teleology and sixteen others for its acquisition that was managed by Barclays Africa.