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Strive Masiyiwa Reveals How A Former Minister Nearly Robbed His Business Empire

Harare - Intimate details of how telecommunications mogul Strive Masiyiwa fought rampant corruption tendencies to clinch his Econet Wireles...

Harare - Intimate details of how telecommunications mogul Strive Masiyiwa fought rampant corruption tendencies to clinch his Econet Wireless operational license are now emerging in his ongoing corruption serialisation.

Zimbabweans are aware of his prolonged battle to secure the mobile tender – but intimate details have been kept secret.


When the umpire is a player
“Imagine participating in a tender in which one of the bidders wrote the actual bid documents. It happened in Zimbabwe when we were fighting for the license to operate. 
Strive Masiyiwa
After the Supreme Court first ruled that the state monopoly in telecoms must be ended, the judges then ordered the Minister of Telecommunications to issue a cell phone license by public tender. The judges gave a deadline by which it had to be done,” he revealed.

The minister in question is no longer in government. 

“A few weeks later a tender was published in the newspapers by the minister. We had no choice but to participate in the process. We wondered at the time how the minister had managed to prepare the tender documents in such a short time. 

Little did we know that the bid documents had been prepared by one of the participants”

The outcome was clearly prearranged, according to Masiyiwa.
The Empire That Strive Masiyiwa Built 

“On the day of the closure, there were four bidders and they placed us last out of the four, awarding the tender to a company controlled by a well-known African businessman. The minister appeared jubilantly with the winner, and announced a "new era in telecommunications".

It pays to know the law
“After the announcement of the bidders, I met with my lawyers and we decided to urgently petition the court to undertake a judicial review of the award of the tender. Few people at the time appreciated the existence of this procedure on a public tender. 

Our lawyers approached the court and asked that all documents used in the award process be put under court seal.”

The law soon took its course.

“When the order was granted our lawyers rushed to the place where the tender adjudication committee had been holding their meetings and asked the court officials to place all documents including any notes of the members of the committee found in the room under court seal.” 
It Pays To Know The Law
The process was a fraud, according to the businessman.

“Months later when the hearing was due to start, lawyers from both sides were allowed to study the sealed documents. 

Among the documents found was a telefax draft document of the original bid document. It had been sent to the chairman of the committee by the company that was ultimately awarded the tender.”

Corrupt people never give up
However, the government official did not give up.

“The minister in question accepted the decision of the court – and we were allowed to operate. However, she went ahead to reinstate the license that had been cancelled by a court to the bidder that had cheated so blatantly. 
Corrupt People Are Always Persistent
No member of the committee including its chair was ever asked to explain,” Masiyiwa alleges. Currently, Zimbabwe has three mobile operators namely Telecel, Netone plus Econet. 

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