Nigeria: Blue Label arbitration delayed

Nigeria is starting 2013 in telecommunications controversy after a case against Telkom’s former Nigeria subsidiary Multi-Links by South Africa’s Blue Label Telecoms for $481 million in arbitration was delayed again, local media in Nigeria reported on Tuesday.

Case between Nigeria's Multi-Links and South Africa’s Blue Label Telecoms delayed (Lagos image: file)

According to reports, the cancellation of a 10-year contract between the two companies by Multi-Links in 2010 led the South African telecom company to end its work in Nigeria altogether, despite having contracts on the ground.

Blue Label then began arbitration against the Nigeria subsidiary claiming lost profits as a result of the breach of contract.

The company, which currently holds some 37 percent of Africa Prepaid Services Nigeria as a result of its 72 percent stake in African Prepaid Services, said in a statement that “an agreement between the companies was cancelled by Multi-Links after Telkom announced plans to exit CDMA business in Nigeria.”

Multi-Links was then sold off in 2011 for only $10 million after losing billions. Arbitration had been scheduled to take place in November and December, but has continued to be postponed.

The goal of the arbitration process, Nigeria’s ICT ministry and regulator hope, will be to show companies and telecom operators that the country upholds the basic values of equity and business justice.

David Eto