Government in court battle with Vivacell Telecom Company

By Bida Elly David

The government of South Sudan and former Vivacell Telecommunication Company are battling a court row concerning suspension of the network across the Country some years ago.

Speaking to the media yesterday, Michael Makuei Lueth, the national minister of information telecommunication and postal services said that Vivacell was suspended following failures to acquire license of the Republic of South Sudan.

He said that the company used to operate with the License of the new Sudan which had passive correspondence with the telecommunication laws of the Country.

“The Ministry of information had a case with Vivacell. We had suspended their operation for failures to acquire the license of the Republic of South Sudan. We suspended it with the aim of us sitting with them to negotiate so that they take the operation license of South Sudan. They were operating with the license of the new Sudan,” he said.

Makuei said that Vivacell had no right to claim operation in the Country due to the fact that it got its license before independence, and had to renew it after the independence.

“It was the license issued by the civil authority of the new Sudan. After paying the license, Vivacell was exempted from paying taxes for ten years. When the ten years finished, I called on them to obtain the Country’s license, but they refused and insisted that we should allow them to operate on the new Sudan license,” he said.

He echoed that the New Sudan license deserves to be nullified. Because, according to him, South Sudan is now an independent Country that operates on new or amended laws.

Makuei uttered that the Vivacell claimed the sum of $3 Billion from the government – saying that they disputed the claims-based issues on impartiality and competence of the arbitrator.

“The arbitrator did not listen to us. Rather, he decided to knock out the $2 Billion – leaving out $1billion. We are appealing now against the decision of the arbitrator in a Switzerland, the Centre of the arbitration in London,” Makuei said.

However, Makuei said that the amount claimed by the company was not in place, and the arbitrator did not play a fair game through checks and balance in the case.

He said that they did not dismiss Vivacell Company but suspended its operation because of failing to meet the requirements.

Finally, Makuei said that the final appeal will determine the fate of the two parties regarding their rights.

Meanwhile, efforts to reach Vivacell stakeholders for verification didn’t go through by press time.

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