NEW DELHI: The Tanzanian government has said the privatisation of state-run Tanzania Telecommunications Corporation to Celtel, which was ultimately acquired by Airtel, was done in "serious violations" of law, regulations and procedures.
Also, Tanzania said that it will negotiate on the matter with Airtel to "gain its right".
Tanzania's President office said the government was convinced that the Tanzania Telecommunications Corporation ( TTCL ) after privatisation will go to Celtel and was later transferred to Zain and then to Airtel in "serious violations of law, regulations and procedures".
The statement was made by Tanzania's Minister of Finance and Planning, Dr Philip Mpango, who on January 11, 2018 submitted a report of committee formed to investigate Airtel's ownership company to the Tanzania President John Pombe Joseph Magufuli.
The Tanzania government owns 40 per cent share in Airtel Tanzania and rest is owned by the Bharti group.
Mpango said that the country has lost huge amount of money in the process and the government will negotiate with Airtel so that Tanzania can gain its right.
Airtel ventured into Africa market, including Tanzania, with USD 10.7 billion (or about Rs 48,000 crore) acquisition of Kuwait-based Zain Telecom's African assets.
When contacted, Airtel said the transactions involving the privatisation of TTCL were undertaken in the years 2001 and 2005 respectively, well before Airtel's acquisition of stake in that business in the year 2010.
"Airtel's acquisition of the said 60 per cent shareholding in June 2010 was in full compliance with and following all approvals from the Government of Tanzania," the company's spokesperson said.
As per the records, the privatisation process as well as the subsequent sale of 60 per cent from Celtel to Zain had all the requisite approvals, the spokesperson added.
"All the relevant documents have been duly submitted to the authorities in the Government of Tanzania. We intend to work closely with the Government of Tanzania and will take all steps necessary to resolve any doubts or concerns to the satisfaction of the Government and all of the other stakeholders, including our shareholders," Airtel said.
The company added that it will take all steps to protect its businesses, employees, partners, and investments in Airtel Tanzania.