Malawi Communications Regulatory Authority (Macra) has fined mobile network operator Airtel Malawi K820 million fine for allegedly breaching the Communications Act.
Macra director general Godfrey Itaye told a news conference in Blantyre on Tuesday that Airtel Malawi paid a fine in July for breaching the law, but it remains in breach and will continue paying K20 million per fortnight until it meets the conditions.
He said: “Upon renewal of its telecommunications licence in 2014, Airtel committed itself to have a minimum of 20 percent local shareholding.
“This localisation of shares by Airtel was to be done within two years from the date Airtel’s licence became operational on February 7 2014.”
Itaye said before a given deadline of November 25 2018, Macra engaged Airtel Malawi on numerous occasions in its efforts to localise the shareholding.
The Communications Act stipulates that any electronic service provider must have 20 percent of its shareholding locally, a condition that the mobile service provider failed to meet since its licence renewal in 2014.
Initially, Macra made a determination to fine Airtel Malawi K500 million in December 2018 and further ordered that it should pay another K20 million every 14 days for remaining in breach.
However, before the deadline, Airtel Malawi applied to Macra for an approval to transfer 20 percent shareholding to a company called Airtel Employee Welfare Limited, but the regulatory was not convinced with the decision.
Upon refusing to grant the approval, Macra then imposed the fine on Airtel Malawi in December.
Despite appealing its fine in January this year, Macra stood firm on its decision and in July Airtel made the payment.
Efforts to speak to Airtel Malawi corporate communications and corporate social responsibility manager Norah Chavula proved futile as she did not pick up our phone calls on numerous attempts.