Vodacom’s Congo fixer row reaches diplomatic pitch

Vodacom accused of calling in political muscle to sway a Congolese lawsuit with their South African fixer

By - April 27, 2012 Share on LinkedIn
Vodacom predicted red logo

Vodacom stands accused of using political and diplomatic pressure in its battle with a fixer who recently won a case against it in a Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) court, which ordered the company to pay him $21-million.

A lawyer representing Moto Mabanga, the South African-based fixer, has sent a letter to the general inspectorate of judicial council services in Kinshasa and the United Kingdom’s ambassador in the DRC stating that Vodacom is trying to place itself above the laws of the country.

His letter followed one sent by Vodacom to the inspectorate that was copied to the South African and British ambassadors in the Congo.

One of Mabanga’s lawyers, José Ilunga Kapanda, wrote to the inspectorate on April 4 this year stating that the body did not have the jurisdiction to prevent the execution of the judgement. Kapanda stated that he did not understand why Vodacom International copied its request for the suspension of the execution of the judgement to the British ambassador.

Diplomatic pressure?

Kapanda said everybody was equal before the law, including foreigners. He accused Vodacom of trying to use diplomatic pressure to put itself above the law.

Another of Mabanga’s lawyers, Emery Mukendi Wafwana, stated in another letter to the British ambassador that the latter should not interfere in the matter. He said the UK was a partner with the DRC in establishing an investment climate in the country and it should not interfere, unless it believed the DRC could interfere in legal disputes in the UK.

“To act other­wise would be to lead the United Kingdom into a great conflict in the engagements it has reached with the Democratic Republic of Congo,” Wafwana stated.

The Mail & Guardian reported on the dispute between Mabanga’s company, Namemco Energy, and Vodacom in August 2010. At the time, Mabanga, who acted as a consultant in the Congo for Vodacom, was suing the mobile conglomerate for R396-million in the South Gauteng High Court in Johannesburg. The amount was allegedly for work done between May 6 and July 31 2007 and between September 12 2007 and August 31 2008. The case was withdrawn and filed in Kinshasa.

Vodacom’s spokesperson, Richard Boorman, said it was ironic, given the string of extraordinary legal activity in the Congo, that Vodacom was being accused of using underhanded tactics to defend its business.

“There is zero legal justification for Mr Mabanga’s contractual claim and we challenge him to provide one shred of evidence to support it. We keep in regular touch with officials and embassies in all of the countries in which we operate.

“Both South African and the UK companies are major investors in the DRC and it’s a common-sense step to keep officials apprised of a situation that is already tarnishing the reputation of the DRC and has the potential to jeopardise further investment from both countries,” said Boorman.

“I would like to say very clearly that Vodacom honours its commitments. If Mr Mabanga could in any way justify his claim, why is he not doing so in South Africa, where the agreements were made and which he explicitly agreed would have contractual jurisdiction?

“The act of sending letters to diplomats in the DRC instructing them how to behave demonstrates a concern that Vodacom’s position is valid and that common sense will prevail.”

Related Articles

SA cellphone operators are ripping off consumers

Mobile pricing: Regulatory challenges facing SA

South African broadband numbers

Dropped call stats for SA revealed

Share your thoughts

Join the conversation

Connect with Us

androidappletwitterfacebookgoogleplusfeednewsletter

Poll

Which online social platform is your favourite?

View Results

Loading ... Loading ...

More News

New trick criminals use to steal your One-Time PIN

One Time Pin on phone

Through social engineering attacks, criminals are convincing South Africans to hand over their one-time PINs – which can cost them thousands of rand.

2016 MyBroadband Cloud and Hosting Conference in photos

Cloud and Hosting Conference

The 2016 Cloud and Hosting Conference attracted a record number of delegates, and provided a platform for IT executives and managers to interact with cloud and hosting providers.

Uber to review South African price cuts

Uber logo city

Internet ride-sharing app Uber will decide on June 6 if it will keep its winter price cuts or hike fares again.

Xiaomi Mi 5 launched in South Africa

Xiaomi Mi 5

Mobile in Africa group has launched Xiaomi’s flagship smartphone in South Africa.

X

Newsletter Subscription


Name
Email *
Enter the following to confirm your subscription *
Captcha image


Free MyBroadband Newsletter
Subscribe
×