Bengol.Net Limited, a local telecommunications firm, has taken conglomerate Press Corporation plc to court for alleged breach of an agreement to offer the firm a stake in Malawi Telecommunications Limited (MTL).
The company offers broadband Internet and private data communication solutions over fibre optic, wireless and satellite technology.
Court documents filed in the High Court Commercial Division Blantyre Registry by lawyer Ambokire Salimu show that Bengol.Net on February 16 2021 entered into an exclusivity agreement under which it was placed under an obligation to prepare and present a binding offer to acquire a stake in MTL.
The company said it believed that the exclusivity agreement was part of steps to facilitate the completion of the transaction for the stake in MTL, a telecommunications firm in which Press Corporation holds majority shareholding.
Read the court documents in part: “The claimant pleads that by e-mail of 11th February 2021, the claimant responded to an e-mail from Ernest and Young asking the claimant what he [company managing director] required from them in order to prepare and present a binding offer in facilitation of completion of the sale of the MTL equity transaction.
“The claimant pleads that since then, the defendant has played hide and seek, the story has now become that they cannot proceed with the transaction until they hear from the Malawi Government which holds a 20 percent stake in MTL.”
The court, in the summons of the commercial case number 235 of 2021 to be heard before Judge Michael Mtambo, commands Press Corporation to either satisfy the claim or file with the court a defence and list of documents within 28 days after the service the summons.
The court also commands the corporation that if it doesn’t want to contest the proceedings, the public limited company must respond within 14 days after service of the summons.
Reads the summons in part: “Take notice that if you fail to satisfy the claim or to file a defence and list of documents or to return the response within the time stated, or if you return the response without stating an intention to contest the proceedings, the claimant may proceed with the claim and judgement may be entered against you without further notice.”
Efforts to speak to Press Corporation company secretary Bernard Ndau to comment on the matter proved futile yesterday.
But according to the court documents, PCL was served with the summons on July 5 2021.
Last week, MTL board member Lyton Chithambo told the media that the company is in search of a strategic partner and that the process of identifying partner companies is at the advanced stage.
However, he could not disclose the names of the potential partners.
Apart from MTL, Bengol.Net Limited provides Internet services to National Roads Authority, according to information available on its website.
The site also shows that the company is a sister concern of Bengol Tele-Construction Company which was registered on April 4 2002 by founder Mohammad Zafar Abdullah and is registered with National Construction Industry Council of Malawi since 2003.
In September last year, Abdullah told the media in Blantyre that the company has invested K4 billion in Internet and telecom projects in the country to enhance fibre connection for the social and economic development of Malawi.