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High Court Judge Grants Telecel Interim Order to Continue Operations

Bangladeshi Muslim devotees head to their homes in an over-crowded train after attending the final day of a three-day Islamic congregation on the banks of the River Turag in Tongi, about 20 kilometers (13 miles) north of the capital Dhaka, Bangladesh.

A Harare High Court judge, Nicholas Mathonsi, on Thursday granted cellular network operator, Telecel Zimbabwe, a provisional order allowing the company to continue operations in the country following the cancellation of its license by the authorities last week.

The licence was cancelled by the Postal and Telecommunications Regulatory Authority of Zimbabwe (POTRAZ), which alleged that the firm failed to follow some of its regulations compelling it to have a majority stake held by local people.

In granting the provisional order in his chambers, Mathonsi also interdicted POTRAZ from interfering in the operations of Telecel Zimbabwe, one of the country’s three mobile network operators.

The judge said he would provide his reasons for granting the order in a full judgment.

Some businesspeople and Telecel subscribers have welcomed the court ruling. One such person is Norest Marara who runs freight and clearing business.

Marara told VOA Studio 7 that POTRAZ’s decision to cancel Telecel’s license was misplaced in the first place because the government did not take into account the plight of hundreds of workers employed by the mobile operator.

Another Telecel Zimbabwe subscriber, James Musevenzi, who runs a retail shop in Harare’s central business district, also welcomed the judgment.

Telecel International has a 60 percent shareholding in Telecel Zimbabwe while Empowerment Corporation holds a 40 percent stake in the company.

Information Communication Technology Minister Supa Mandiwanzira could not be reached on his mobile phone for comment following the ruling while Telecel Zimbabwe’s spokesperson Francis Chimanda told Studio 7 that his company has decided not to discuss this issue with the media.

Some critics have blamed the country empowerment regulations for the lack of foreign direct investment.