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By Michael Malakata , IDG News Service

Zambia’s political opposition is protesting the transfer of Celtel Zambia’s funds to Zain of Kuwait by the Ministry of Commerce, Trade and Industry.

The ministry is responsible for approving and issuing trade licenses to new companies investing in Zambia and allowed Zain’s takeover of Celtel Zambia two months ago.

Opposition political party leader Michael Sata, however, last week called the Zambian government’s approval of the transaction dubious and is now is now pressing for an explanation as to why the government did not first take time to study Zain’s performance.

“Zain’s network is always congested, and it has become expensive to call using the network,” Sata said. “There was definitely corruption over the takeover of the company.”

Sata insisted that investigations should be launched to establish why the takeover was allowed before assessing the performance of Zain, but the Minister of Commerce, Trade and Industry has so far remained silent over the matter.

Last month, the Communications Authority of Zambia wrote to Zain, directing the company to repair its failing network or face punishment. Zain has said it is working towards bettering the network.

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