The Competition Authority of Kenya (CAK) says it is reviewing the Airtel, Telkom Kenya merger, distancing itself from suggestions by the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission that the deal has been put on hold once again.
The EACC initially waded into the proposed transaction, saying it would not continue until allegations of corruption are investigated.
The agency later wrote to the CAK and other regulators on October 15, saying it did not object to the merger.
EACC Director of Legal Services David Too, however, last month walked back the agency’s letter and told Parliament that the transaction is still being investigated.
Regulators meanwhile continue to evaluate the proposed deal, saying they stand guided by the October 15 letter that has not been withdrawn.
“The authority shall communicate its determination on the proposed merger as prescribed by Section 46 (6) (a) (ii) of the Competition Act No. 12 of 2010,” the CAK told the Business Daily in an e-mailed statement.
The Communications Authority of Kenya had not responded to our queries by the time of going to press.
In the letter, the anti-corruption watchdog had asked the regulators to ensure that State security installations are secured in the deal. The agency also asked that employees’ interests be protected.
The EACC said it has established that Telkom Kenya is a private company owned 60 per cent by private equity firm Helios and 40 per cent by the Kenyan government.
In his statement to Parliament, Mr Too suggested that investigations in the proposed transaction are still ongoing.
“We have not approved any merger but we have issued advisories to responsible government entities to protect the interest in the approval process of the merger,” he said.
“We are seeking mutual legal assistance from several overseas countries that include Mauritius, Cayman Islands, Netherlands, United Arab Emirates, India, Sudan, France and South Africa.”
The inquiry is seeking to establish the circumstances under which the Treasury ceded further ownership of Telkom Kenya to Orange, the French multinational that later sold its stake to Helios.