The National Communications Authority (NCA) has denied blocking the sale of Vodafone Group’s 70% shares in Vodafone Ghana to Telecel Group.
In a tweeted press release headlined NCA HAS NOT BLOCKED SALE OF VODAFONE GHANA’S OPERATIONS TO TELECEL GROUP the regulator said Vodafone Group’s application to transfer its majority shares to Telecel did not meet the regulatory threshold for the approval to be granted.
“In January 2022, the NCA received an application for the transfer of 70% majority shares in Ghana Telecommunications Company Limited (Vodafone Ghana) from Vodafone International Holdings B.V. to the Telecel Group,” the release said.
“In accordance with due process, the Authority evaluated the application on various criteria and engaged both Vodafone and Telecel Group. After a critical regulatory review and evaluation, the NCA concluded that the request did not meet the regulatory threshold for approval to be granted”.
NCA’s statement comes in direct response to a report by Techgh24 indicating that Ghana government has blocked the sale of Vodafone Group’s majority share in Ghana to Telecel.
While the heading says NCA did not block Vodafone sale, the details of the letter actually admitted that indeed, NCA blocked the sale with a reason – that the deal failed to meet regulatory requirements.
Techgh24 had reported, citing highly placed sources, that government had other plans for when Vodafone leaves the country by close of this year when telecom operators will go for the renewal of their licenses.
Government wanted Vodafone to walk away like AirtelTigo did, and hand over Ghana Telecom assets to the state, so that it will be joined to AirtelTigo and Glo to create one entity in which government will hold majority shares and other private persons will hold minority shares.
But NCA says that in rejecting the deal, it was only keeping with its regulatory framework and international best practice.
However, very often when NCA takes a regulatory decision, it usually states category which provisions of the law or regulations back its decisions. But in this case, it failed to state the specific regulations that were flouted by the deal, and or informed its decision to stop the sale.
It is also not clear if NCA made official communication to Vodafone Group and Telecel about its final decision on the deal before today, August 2, 2022. [We are still running checks on that].
Meanwhile, Techgh24 is picking fresh information that Vodafone Group held a meeting today at their Head office in the UK and management indicated they were looking for a new shareholder since the Telecel offer seem to have been blocked.
We will monitor that development and keep you posted.