Guinea Bissau: Government to audit Guiné Telecom and Guinétel to help recovery

23 February 2009

Bissau, Guinea Bissau, 23 Feb – The government of Guinea Bissau plans to audit the accounts of telecommunications companies Guiné-Telecom and Guinetel, part-owned by Portugal Telecom, in order to establish how to go about implementing the recovery of the companies, the Guinean economy minister, Helena Embaló said Friday in Bissau.

Embaló told Portuguese news agency Lusa that the situation of the two companies “is one of stalemate and litigation,” amongst the shareholders, teh Guinea Bissau state and Portugal Telecom.

In May 2008, the Bissau government decided, unilaterally, to take over the management of the two companies, alleging that PT had abandoned them, despite the latter remaining a shareholder.

Guiné Telecom was founded in 1989 and Guinétel was founded in 2004.

PT has 40 percent of Guiné Telecom (only fixed line operator in the country) and 55 percent of Guinétel (first mobile operator).

Since 2004 Guiné Telecom has been facing technical and financial difficulties, due to a lack of investment and a drop in revenues.

The “misunderstandings” between the Guinean States and PT emerged due to the Portuguese company halting investment in the two companies charging that the Guinean side had refused to pay a debt of some US$30 million owed to Guiné Telecom. (macauhub)