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

April 27, 2012
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 The case was withdrawn and filed in Kinshasa.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

Tags: Democratic Republic of Congo, DRC, Headline, lawsuit, Moto Mabanga, Vodacom

Free Email Newsletter:
Subscribe

Shutterstock is the image partner of MyBroadband – technology images can be found here

Join the conversation

Connect with MyBB

twitterfacebookandroidappleblackberrynewsletterfeed

Poll

Have you ever lied on your CV?

View Results

Loading ... Loading ...

More News

Another SA iStore robbed

The five colors of the new iPhone 5C are seen after Apple Inc's media event in Cupertino, California September 10, 2013.

Another iStore was robbed in Gauteng on Friday — this time at Centurion Mall in Pretoria, police said

Finance Minister Nhlanhla Nene’s fake Facebook profiles

The loading screen of the Facebook application on a mobile phone is seen in this photo illustration taken in Lavigny May 16, 2012. REUTERS/Valentin Flauraud

There are several fake Facebook accounts purporting to be those of Finance Minister Nhlanhla Nene, his ministry said on Friday

SABC won’t be held to ransom by actors: Motsoeneng

SABC logo TV screens

The SABC will not allow itself to be held to ransom by actors, the public broadcaster’s COO Hlaudi Motsoeneng said on Friday

Namec set-top box battle

MultiChoice

The small electronics industry body is accusing two of its heads of being ‘empowerment raiders’

Free MyBroadband Newsletter:
Subscribe
X
bool(true)