DRC businessman sues Vodacom for R200bn

Vodacom has been slapped with a US$14 billion (R200 billion) claim by its partner in the Democratic Republic of Congo, businessman Alieu Conteh, according to a report by Financial Mail magazine.

The magazine said the claim follows an ongoing legal dispute between the parties.

Conteh is the controlling shareholder of Congolese Wireless Network (CWN), which is a minority shareholder in Vodacom Congo.

In its financial statements, Vodacom says the latest claim seeks to “invalidate a court decision to remove Conteh as statutory manager of CWN as well as the liquidation of Vodacom Congo and its payment of various sums to CWN and Conteh”. The action also includes an “unsubstantiated” claim for $14bn against Vodacom International for its “alleged role in helping to undermine Conteh’s position as former statutory manager”.

Vodacom says Conteh’s claim is “without merit”. Vodacom has not done anything to undermine Conteh’s authority, spokesman Tshepo Ramodibe told Financial Mail.

Ramodibe told the magazine that the group will oppose the action.

South Africa’s largest mobile operator, majority-owned by Britain’s Vodafone, is in a long-running dispute in the DRC with Conteh.

In September 2013 Vodacom won an arbitration process against Conteh.

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