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Malawi Mobile Network to Sue Over Bribery Claims

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Malawi's oft delayed mobile network operator, G Mobile says that it will sue the country's Minister of Information Symon Vuwa Kaunda after he alleged that the company tried to bribe him to get reductions in fines from the telecoms regulator.

G-Mobile has come under pressure to deploy its network and faced fines from the regulator for the delays. Kaunda alleged that the company had offered to pay him US$33,000 to get the fines dropped - a claim the company strongly refutes. The company was facing a USD6.9 million fine from the regulator, which has also attempted to get the company's license terminated.

"It is not our intention to fight public officials, but Minister Kaunda has forced us to think otherwise," the company said in a statement sent to Bloomberg News. "We have no choice but to seek the protection of the courts of law since our image and name is being spoiled."

Minister Kaunda has also come under criticism in the country for not reporting the alleged bribery attempt to either the anti-corruption bureau or the police, within 48-hours are required by law. He now says he will cooperate with any subsequent investigation that takes place.

G-Mobile was granted a license in April 2009, and was due to have launched its network by the end of that year. The regulator has imposed fines on the company and repeatedly extended the launch deadline. The company was given until the end of 2010 to launch its network.

On the web: Bloomberg News

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Tags: macra  g-mobile  Malawi