Tuesday, 3 November 2020

NETONE FAILS TO PAY RENT, PROPERTY ATTACHED

NetOne’s property at its shop at the Sam Levy’s Village in Borrowdale, Harare, has reportedly been attached by the sheriff over rental arrears.

The State-owned telecommunications firm had accumulated rental arrears of approximately $775 182,48, according to the sheriff’s notice. But NetOne denied the report yesterday.

“Have you been to our Sam Levy shop? It’s open for customers and fully operational. Even over the weekend it was open,” NetOne spokesperson Eldrette Shereni told NewsDay Business.

In April 2019, NetOne had an external debt of US$300 million and a local one of US$74 million, according to the entity’s suspended chief executive officer Lazarus Muchenje during an appearance before the ICT Parliamentary Portfolio Committee.

“From an accounting perspective, such acts if committed are acts of insolvency like how the sheriff came and took their things. They failed to pay their rentals. When you fail to pay creditors on time this is what happens,” a well-placed source said.

“When we see signs of insolvency, people can lie to auditors and numbers can be changed, but there are things you cannot change. If you do not have cash you do not have cash . . . This is why with issues of insolvency you have to ask yourself are you able to pay all your creditors their money because those signs show that something is wrong.”

The source alleged that NetOne was also facing challenges in acquiring fuel to do regular checks of its base stations which was why the entity is having network disruptions from time-to-time.

NetOne acting CEO Chipo Jaisson declined to comment and referred questions to Shereni, who insisted that NetOne had “no financial challenges”.

The NetOne board, led by acting board chair, Susan Mutangadura, is currently battling to remove Muchenje from the State-run mobile operator.

According to the Postal and Telecommunications Regulatory Authority of Zimbabwe’s (Potraz) second quarter report, NetOne lost 0,5% of its active mobile subscriptions and it’s down to 3 306 173 subscribers despite gains in overall market share.

In terms of OneMoney subscriptions, NetOne’s mobile money platform, there were 892 963 subscribers at the end of the second quarter.

The challenges being experienced at NetOne have resulted in Potraz having regular meetings with the firm.

“The issues at NetOne are in the courts right now so we cannot comment on those issues. But, we are consulting with NetOne to find out what is happening,” Potraz director-general Gift Machengete said. Newsday

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