Tanzania: Vodacom boss quits, joins Ooredoo

The managing director of Vodacom Tanzania Limited, Mr Rene Meza (pictured), is quitting the company, it was confirmed yesterday.

Officials in Dar es Salaam and Johannesburg said Mr Meza would leave in September.

He tendered his resignation on April 16, according to Vodacom Tanzania Chief Officer, Corporate Affairs, Georgia Mutagahywa.

Vodacom’s group executive head, corporate communications, Mr Richard Boorman, said in  a short statement that Mr Meza, who joined the company in October 2011, would be leaving to join another firm.

“During his time with Vodacom, he doubled the network to 3,200 sites, increased the number of customers to over 12 million and led Tanzania to have the second biggest M-Pesa customer base in the Vodacom Group (after Kenya),” he said.

The Citizen learnt that Mr Meza would be headed to Myanmar to take up a new job as CEO of Ooredoo, a leading international communications company.

He will be expected to deliver mobile, fixed, broadband internet and corporate managed services across markets in the Middle East, North Africa and Southeast Asia. 

Ooredoo, whose head Mr Ross Cormack has resigned, said it was banking on Mr Meza’s over 17 years of international experience in emerging markets having held leadership positions in telecoms businesses in Asia, Africa and Latin America.

Mr Meza is leaving at a time Vodacom Tanzania is mired in a  prepaid airtime voucher controversy with one of its key dealers, Shivacom.

Ms Mutagahywa refuted reports linking Mr Meza’s imminent departure with the  crisis, which has reportedly cost the firm hundreds of billions of  shillings.

 “The issue of fraud is under investigation, so I won’t say much about it. But people should keep in mind that the resignation has nothing to do with the said fraud,” Ms Mutagahywa told The Citizen.

Vodacom confirmed it had terminated a lucrative tender with Shivacom, over “duplicate airtime vouchers” circulating in the market.

The company sidestepped the term “fraud” in a statement sent to the media, saying there was no multi-million dollar loss.

The Citizen could not independently verify the actual loss arising from the scam involving the printing and distribution of fake airtime recharge vouchers.

But Vodacom has strongly denied that the loss amounted to $350 million (Sh700 billion) and said an anonymous blogger had grossly inflated the figure.

Early this month, the parliamentary Committee on Industry and Trade rejected an explanation given by Tanzania Revenue Authority (TRA) on the matter.

It directed TRA to submit a “credible” report on May 15 in Parliament in Dodoma.

TRA had admitted to complaints of fake prepaid vouchers but said the amount quoted in the media could not be equated to the recorded anomalies.

Vodacom signed an agreement with Shivacom eight years ago in which the latter was to print and supply airtime vouchers known as “Jero Jero” for low income earners. The vouchers were sold at Sh500 each.

Shivacom is alleged to have supplied duplicate vouchers worth billions of shillings during that period, which were then sold in the market before Vodacom detected it.
Source: The Citizen, reported by Veneranda Sumila, from Dar es Salaam, Tanzania
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