MTN's cellular network company in Cameroon is involved in a legal dispute with one of its software suppliers over allegedly unpaid bills of about USD3.2m.

Not only are the companies at odds about these bills, but they also cannot agree on the current status of the court procedure designed to resolve the dispute.

Yesterday, software supplier Application Technologies (AppsTech) issued a statement saying MTN Cameroon had lost a court case concerning the unpaid invoices, and had been ordered to pay USD3.2m to cover the costs of its software installation.

AppsTech also claimed that the Court of First Instance of DoualaBonanjo had ordered MTN Cameroon's bank accounts to be seized to ensure that the money was paid to AppsTech.

"We never expected that this matter would end up in court," said AppsTech CEO Rebecca Enonchong. "We tried both informal and official means to resolve the matter amicably. When MTN Cameroon stopped attending conciliation sessions before the conciliatory judge, even after first agreeing to pay, we were left with no choice but to file a lawsuit to recover the debt."

That prompted MTN in SA to defend itself, saying that the statement from AppsTech was inaccurate. The hearing had begun on Wednesday, but the judge had postponed the hearing and sent both companies away to make a fresh attempt to settle their dispute amicably, an MTN spokesman said. If no agreement could be reached, the case would recommence on August 5. MTN owns 70% of MTN Cameroon, with the other 30% held by a local partner, Broadband Communication.

Business Day