16 May 2019
Angolan president João Lourenço has annulled the tender for the country’s fourth telecoms operating licence and ordered it to be re-run to ensure “a clean and transparent process”.
The move came shortly after little-known Telstar Telecomunicacoes won the tender, which was announced shortly after Lourenço’s inauguration in 2017.
It was also praised as a major step toward opening up of one of Africa’s most closed economies.
However, a statement from the president’s office said the winning bid failed to meet all the terms within the tender.
“It has been confirmed that there was on behalf of the company declared winner of the tender noncompliance with the terms of the procedure, the requirements relating to the balance sheet and profit and loss statements, and the statement of overall turnover for the last three years,” the statement said.
The statement further ordered work be done over the next 30 days to start a fresh tender process.
Telstar’s victory was the source of ridicule for many Angolans on social media, who questioned how a company with no history in telecommunications could have won.
When asked about the decision before the president’s move to cancel the tender, Angola’s telecom minister Jose Carvalho da Rocha told state television it was too late for complaints.
“Challenges should have been made at the various stages of the process,” he said hours before the statement was released by the president’s office.