Supreme Court re-instates G-Mobile licence revocation


The Supreme Court of Appeal on Tuesday quashed an earlier ruling by the High Court stopping the revocation of a licence for cellular phone services awarded to Globally Advanced Networks Limited (G-Mobile).

A panel of justices Anastanzia Msosa, Andrew Nyirenda and Robert Chinangwa made the determination following an appeal by Malawi Communications Regulatory Authority (Macra).

Macra revoked G-Mobile's licence on September 20, 2010 for failing to roll out after 12 months as stipulated in the conditions of the licence.

Among other issues G-Mobile appealed against the decision to withdraw its licence citing that it was denied right to economic activity by the decision to revoke it.

"We observe that the respondent (G-Mobile) was not denied the right to economic activity. But by default of its own making the respondent failed to roll out after being generously granted several extensions. We are of the view that the appellant (Macra) did not breach Section 29 of the Constitution by revoking the licence.

"The right to economic activity is available to honest and serious entrepreneurs not the likes of the respondent. This ground is decided in favour of the appellant. The ruling of the lower court is reversed and the revocation of the respondent's licence is reinstated," concludes the ruling.

According to Court records G-Mobile was initially given 12 months to roll out its services which spanned from March 20, 2009 the day it was awarded the licence to March 19, 2010.

But by mutual consent the two parties later agreed to reduce the period to 10 months and consequently wrote a letter to G-Mobile on January reminding it of the forthcoming deadlines.

The records also indicate that G-Mobile was granted two extensions of 56 days and four months respectively which was followed by a US$ 6,950 fine that it challenged in Mzuzu High Court until it lost the licence by revocation.