Telkom Kenya Sold Within the Law, Says Minister

Mergers, Acquisitions and Financial Results

The Government is not involved in "mindless privatisation of strategic parastatals." Internal security assistant minister Simeon Lesirma said in Parliament on Wednesday that the Government off loaded its shares in Safaricom and in Telekom Kenya to local and foreign investors in line with the law.

But Dr Boni Khalwale (Ikolomani, New Ford-K), accused the Government of compromising the country's security by selling its shares to foreigners in the telephony sector. Asked the Ikolomani MP, who is also the chairman of the Parliamentary Accounts Committee said: "This Government is involved in mindless privatisation. What was so difficult about amending the laws before privatising Telekom and selling its shares in Safaricom?"

It was at that point that the cornered assistant minister requested the Speaker, Kenneth Marende, to have the question passed over to his Information and Communication counterpart saying they were best placed to deal with the controversial issue. The question was then differed to next week.

Earlier, Lesirma had said he was aware the Government had sold 51 per cent of its shares in Telkom to France Telekom, a strategic partner. Said the assistant minister:"This was done with the understanding that the investor would offload 11 per cent of its shareholding through an initial public offering during the planned Phase II of the Telekom restructuring.

Lesirma said that during the IPO, the Government would sell a further 19 per cent of its shareholding to the public and five per cent to Telekom Kenya employees.

The Nation