Vodacom rejects attempt to attach DRC assets

Cape Town – Vodacom [JSE:VOD] has rejected an attempt to attach its assets in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) amid a legal dispute.

The case relates to Vodacom DRC being sued over a facilitation fee agreement.

CORRECTION: Fin24 previously incorrectly reported that this case involving Namemco Energy relates to Vodacom DRC being sued for removing manager Alieu Conteh in that country. Namemco Energy's case referred to in this story is separate to that of Alieu Conteh's bid to sue Vodacom for $14bn.

“I have received the court order where my company (Namemco Energy) has attached Vodacom Group shares in Vodacom DRC, dated October 2015. The DRC Commercial Court enforcement documents which ordered them to pay me the sum of US$18m by the end of December 2015 has been served on Vodacom DRC by the court bailiff,” plaintiff Moto Mabanga told Fin24.

However, Vodacom argued that the matter is ongoing as the company is contesting a payment award. The operator had previously labelled a $14bn demand as “without merit”.

“Namemco is seeking to attach Vodacom shares in Vodacom DRC. Vodacom International Limited (VIL) and Vodacom DRC are contesting the validity of this attachment order. The matter is pending before the courts in the DRC,” Tshepo Ramodibe, Vodacom executive head of corporate affairs, told Fin24.

Mabanga warned that Vodacom DRC shares would be sold by the end of the year if the company does not make a payment.

“To date Vodacom has not made payment. My attorneys are processing the sale of Vodacom DRC shares, if the money is not paid by the end of the year.”

However, despite a Commercial Court judgment, Fin24 understands that the matter is being argued in the international court, rendering local judgments premature.

“In parallel, the same matter and similar issues were referred in the arbitral tribunal under the aegis of the International Chamber of Commerce ('ICC'), Paris. The ICC ruled against Namemco, and issued an award dated November 3 2015, ordering Namemco to pay VIL over $1.7m in damages (exclusive of costs) for breach of the settlement agreement,” said Ramodibe.


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