Malawi gives another mobile licence to Lacell which failed in its bid: Govt imposed decision on Macra

Malawi Communications Regulatory Authority (Macra) has gone ahead to award a mobile telecommunication service provider licence to Lacell Private Limited, which failed in its bid for a similar licence in 2008 as they did not meet the criteria.

Macra boss Kumbatira: New mobile operator

Macra boss Kumbatira: New mobile operator

The renegotiation process to give licence to Lacell Private Limited was imposed on Macra board by government, Nyasa Times understands.

Minister of Information KondwanI Nankhuma reportedly ordered Macra to follow government directives for Macra to “ re-open licence negotiations with Lacell Private Limited” according to the minutes signed by Macra board chairperson Lisa Makawa and Board secretary James Kaphale.

The minutes say Nankhumwa urged the members to discuss the directives and advise Government on the way forward.

“The Board also acknowledged that there is a recent directive on re-opening negotiations with Lacell Private Limited. The Board informed the Hon. Minister that it has approved re-opening of negotiations with Lacell Private Limited considering government’s position on the ossue”, read the minutes.

Nankhumwa confirmed attending Macra board meeting in Lilongwe but rejected claims that he bulldozed the two issues.

“I did not give directives. That is wrong. That agenda came from the Legal Committee of the board. Nobody can bring issues to the plenary without any background. They would make sense if they said I directed the legal committee of the board which also never happened,” Nankhumwa is quoted saying.

In 2008 the Macra board looked at the bids of six companies in an international tender process.

During the bid Milcom scored highly with 90.5 percent, followed by Expresso Telecom Group of Dubai which scored 82 %.

Then VivaCell MTS Consortium from British Virgin Islands scored 81%, Lebanon-based multi-national telecommunication provider Comium Group scored 75%, Lacell of Singapore got 60 % and Forward Ranchers got 60%.

However, despite Lacell, which uses the brand name Smart Mobile, scoring lowly, the board was being “bulldozed” to allow it roll out its services.

Macra boss Andrew Kumbatira has however said Lacell linked to Farook Sattar is being awarded “based on current information.”

He said the other frontrunners were either disqualified or pulled out.

The other cellular network operators in the Southern African country are Airtel Malawi, a subsidiary of Pan-African mobile operator Balti, and TNM, which is owned by Malawian conglomerate Press Corporation.

The two established mobile phone network service providers share a market of over 1, 5-million subscribers, and the Malawi government intends granting further mobile phone network licences in order to increase the number of phone users in the country, which has a 13-million-strong population.

Two other telecommunication operators, G-Mobile and Celcom have failed to roll out.

Celcom has a licence awarded under the terms of dual fixed and mobile telephony provision, which when it was awarded in May 2011 it was required to launch services within 18 months.

The rollout deadline was subsequently postponed twice, with the latest extension due to expire on28 July 2015 ; if Celcom fails to launch its network by that date, then it will face the revocation of its operating licence.


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Farook Gani

This boy, Farook Sattar, who has managed to corrupt stupid Malawi officials into giving him this licence, has nothing to his name . His family has no money . It is Feisal Mapeto who is funding this . This company is Feisal Mapeto’s company together with some ghost owners in Singapore .


why bis for investments? what z the politiks behind? educate me.


Koma a Malawi ife ndifedi Mbatama. No further comment. Ukayangana population Kenako ndikudzaona me water board then admarc and conditions ku ma silos….. Umangodziwuratu

fil c

nde pa nyasa pamenepo


Wat ever the case what is needed is competition in netwrk nd create jobs to malawian. And we heard that those awarded Licence fail to come on ground till now, so hw should we wait them? Apaseni amene ali ndichangu chofuna business ziwakanike okha

Liganga Chelume

We have poor services by the current cellphone providers and very expensive for that matter yet the go and mapeto wholesalers a licence,ndinaiwala ndi a eni a cashgate akuyendetsa boma.

Mandeep Sidhu

Nankhumwa is just a fall guy on this issue . This issue has been sorted out between Farook Sattar of Limbe and Ben Phiri of State House . I can even tell you how much Ben Phiri has eaten on this issue .

Until such time the Directors Generals of these major organisations are not hand picked by the President, we will never hear the last of this. Malawi is for all Malawians and not for a pains me that we sit and think its wrong and never do anything about it, recently the government interfered in an issue with the MRA, before that settled it was MSB and before that even settles we hear of this licence. These leaders are taking us for fools akuba in broad day light and we are just sitting phhwii and not doing anything about it.… Read more »

There goes DPP thug mentality. They aim to benefit financially through this mafia deal. Underhand, black market, corruption deals all the time by DPP thugs.


Minister attending a board meeting as who?Thus a serious abuse of power.Kodi Nankhumwa tinamutenga kuti abale

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