I was a principal in Econet. We didn’t agree with South Western Bell because we couldn’t march dollar for dollar the amount of equity required for the Mobile business.
We arranged Vendors Finance but still it needed to be underwritten by a financial instrument. While i financed some legal fees, rent, salaries, and ITC equipment, i wasn’t able to fund the Regulatory fees needed in the we were awarded the license.
We got a lot of support from the Churches and lobbied NGO’s. Strive handle the media to ensure a certain narrative got the market. The public perception and legal pressure didn’t move the Government (we lobbied Zvobgo but he was put in his place by General Mujuru). We pledged with VP Nkomo who was extremely touched and was young black businesses to thrive. But still that didn’t put money on the table nor could we comply with the technical requirements of the Regulatory requirements of PTC and Government.
We were referred to Judith O’Neill a Telecommunications Law expert. Others joined in lending Econet and suddenly my role as one of the strategic team members was scaled down.
Strive then worked with Kentor & Imerman to lobby and put a legal process advised by O’Neill and included A Debobon, South African advocates, and Kentor (your Nyambirai were peripheral boys at Kentor assisting his seniors).
At this point we had hired Jeff Mzvimbi who had just returned from Kenya since we need to beef up our financial team. Infact, Strive and I interviewed Mzvimbi in my car while driving to address the ZFU in Halfway. I developed a brotherly friendship with Mzvimbi and our families became close. I also financially helped him and also appointed him Chairman of Systems Technology.
Mzvimbi and Durgard Simba proposed that we form a Bank which would be technology driven with Systems Technology undertaking that role. I was to financially underwrite the financial regulatory requirements of the RBZ using my 25% equity in Econet.
About this time Mawere wanted his company SuperNet to participate in the prospective third Mobile license. The meeting was between Strive, myself, and Mawere. We refused Mawere’s proposal, infact Strive relied on me to rebut Mawere.
Shortly, after that i led a team to bid for the Mobile license in Botswana. My team included among them two senior employees Mzvimbi and Zac Wazara. We put the required structures and complied with everything except we didn’t have the money nor Mobile experience. Mzvimbi and Strive entered into negotiations with Portuguese Telkom and i agree that they were qualified partners. When Mascom Botswana was shortlisted, Strive immediately withdrew me from the project and took over himself.
Meanwhile, Strive and Nigel Chanakira had other discussions which were kept away from me. I was later to know from Mzvimbi that it was regarding FML, NMB, and the ZSE. Strive and Nigel some how knew that the Supreme Court was going to award Econet the Mobile license.
About the same time Strive and myself traveled to South Africa for equipment negotiations with Siemens and Ericsson, leading to Econet taking over the Mobile Switch that had been imported for Telecel. My understanding was it’s value was to be apportioned prorate.
On 31st December 1997, the Supreme Court granted Econet the Mobile license to operate. Nyambirai had moved to NMB and was already working with Patson Timba on listing Econet. I was kept in the dark of the goings on and was no longer called to meetings. I was totally sidelined. So my disagreements with Strive intensified. I got paid for the ITC equipment, maintenance services, and consultancy. I didn’t get a penny to this day for my equity in Econet.
Suddenly, Mzvimbi (an employee at the time), replaced my role in Royal Bank with Hardwick Pemhiwa whom he had worked with at the PTA Bank in Kenya. I was to later note that he was given 15% shareholding in Mascom Zimbabwe (the SPV vehicle through which we owned 100% Econet shares). Strive was now untouchable and chose obliterate my name from the history of Econet.
TSM was a shelf company without even a bank account but suddenly appeared in a corrupted and fraudulent prospectus as the holder of Econet shares. At this point my relationship with Strive, Nigel, and Nyambirai was untenable but i was reassured by Patson Timba that NMB was aware of my equity however the focus was to list first so value could be unlocked.
We must agree that Econet had investment analysis, pension funds, media, lawyers, banks, etc feeding off it. It wasn’t strategic to sue Strive with the new gotten power. In 1998 after the listing on the ZSE i asked to leave Econet but was told i couldn’t, instead i would receive a donation in TSM. That became the nexus of my fight with Strive.
I noted also that, unless it was Government, one would not succeed in suing Strive Masiyiwa especially if the matter was appealed to the Supreme Court of Zimbabwe. I have knowledge of the lawyers, advocates, judges that operate from his corner.
Once Strive had legally located himself in a foreign jurisdiction, especially on matters relating to the foundations of Econet, an opportunity had arisen for me to remedy the delinquencies. I have accordingly opened a case against Strive and Econet with the South African Police Service. This is only a first installment. I have a lot more details to follow. I am also aware, as you may have noted, that we have some elements bent on talking about what they don’t know.