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9mobile: Teleology may head to court over Reps order disrupting concluded sale process

Business Hilights Intelligence Unit (BHIU) weekend gathered that the preferred bidder of 9mobile, Teleology Holdings Limited is currently considering legal option on the latest twist in their ownership of the troubled fourth largest telecommunications company. A usually reliable source confided in Business Hilights that the observed hot chase on Teleology since it won the bid has gotten to a level the company may not continue to keep mute, but try a strategic legal interpretation of certain developments before it’s too late.

Late last week, the House of Representatives Committee on Telecommunications had directed the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), to suspend all transactions towards the sale of 9Mobile over allegations of fraud in the bidding process.

The Committee also summoned the Governor of Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), and the Executive Vice Chairman of the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), Prof Umar Danbatta over the alleged discrepancies.

The lawmakers, BHIU gathered, were being led by a petition from one of the losers in the bid (name with held).

In his ruling, Chairman of the Committee, Mr. Saheed Akinade-Fijabi, during last week’s investigative hearing on the sale of 9mobile, argued that the CBN and NCC could not claim inadequate knowledge of the transaction.

However, during the hearing last week, NCC’s Director of Public Affairs, Mr. Tony Ojobo expressly explained all the lawmakers need to know on the sale of 9mobile, but still, the Committee demanded that the duo of Emefiele and Danbatta should appear in person before the Committee in the next hearing date.

It would be recalled that such intimidating invitations were among the ground upon which the umbrella body of licenced telecoms, ALTON is considering approaching a court of competent jurisdiction for interpretation of oversight functions of lawmakers on private businesses, especially telecoms.

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The House Committee is also demanding a comprehensive list of directors at Teleology Holdings as well a representative of the company to appear before the committee.

Ojobo clearly explained that Smile Telecoms Holdings, was not considered because of its indebtedness in the industry even though Smile was quick to claim that it did everything necessary and required in the bidding process.

While placing a suspension order, Chairman of the Committee noted that if his committee is able to establish irregularities in the process which led to choice of the preferred bidder, it will consider cancelation of the entire deal.

Business Hilights recalls that NCC has confirmed the reception of $50m being initial payment form the preferred bidder and announced that Teleology had only 90 days from the day of the initial payment to pay the balance of $450m or cede 9mobile to the reserved bidder, Smile Communications.