26 April 2019
The proposed merger of Airtel Kenya and Telkom Kenya is under threat after a committee in the Kenyan National Assembly refused to approve it until more information is revealed about the proposal.
The committee claimed “the deal has the hallmarks of a scandal where private individuals are buying off a public entity through the back door for a song” and called on government agencies to provide further details about the merger.
In 2014, the Public Investment Committee released a report which made several suggestions for privatising and restructuring the finances of Telkom Kenya and it has been claimed that these have been ignored.
Alongside Telkom Kenya, the agencies mentioned in the report include the Communications Authority of Kenya, the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission, the Ministry of ICT and the National Treasury. All of them have been summoned before the committee.
If the merger went ahead, it would create a new joint venture formed from Airtel Kenya and the mobile, enterprise and carrier service units of Telkom Kenya.
In addition, it would allow the operators to compete more effectively against the dominant market leader Safaricom.