The closure of the telecommunications company “YOU” in Aden sparked a lot of controversy in public opinion, which prompted us to search for confirmed information about this problem, which took a large size without knowing the secrets of the truth.
We contacted with the company’s management and obtained approval to conduct a press interview with the Chairman of the Directors Board, Dr. Abdullah bin Zahran Al Balushi. We asked him about the legality of the company, and the procedures for its transfer from “MTN Yemen” to “YOU” and the company’s position regarding the recent suspension of its services in Aden.
- We trust the legality of the company and the safety of its transfer procedures, and we have enough documents to confirm this
- We surprised by what happened in Aden, the closure is an illegal measure, which is why we resorted to the judiciary
- We deal flexibly because we are confident that there are people in Aden who are keen to continue serving people and do not want to harm them
- When planning to operate 4G, we expected to face difficulties in other areas, and the last thing we expected was what happened in Aden because of the culture, status, commitment and responsibility that this city represents
- Estimate damages by the court we reserve the right to seek redress through international law, the most important step for us is restoring the service.
- Every aggrieved person has the right to claim the necessary compensation from the part who caused this damage, the company made it clear that the suspension was out of our control
- For those who are waiting for YOU’s to return Aden, they will surely receive special attention.
- We are very keen to resume service in Aden at the earliest opportunity.
- The issue is on its way to being resolved, although we hope to retreat the decision of close before the damage doubles on people.
The text of Amjad Khashafah interview, quoted by “Aden Al-Ghad” website.
There are those who accuse the company that its activities are illegal and that the procedures for MTN’s exit from Yemen were part of a deal surrounded by a lot of ambiguity.
Whoever is familiar with the procedures and steps that led to the current form of the company with its name and trademark will be sure of the level of care to follow all legal procedures, in such transformations that companies are witnessing which are subject to a series of official procedures in force and in accordance with the relevant applicable laws, as the company as an entity and activity was established since 2000 under the laws, during these years, the company provides its services in all provinces of Yemen, it also undergoes internal transformations and changes, meaning that transformations and changes are at the level of shareholders, being a closed Yemeni joint stock company, it started with “Spestel and then MTN Yemen”, and now the united Yemeni-Omani company without any breach or transgression of the founding laws and regulations, the current transformation was like its predecessors of internal transformations and changes however, it was the media that exaggerated the issue and portrayed it, as something new and illegal. It was also conducted under the supervision of international consulting houses and specialized authorities with international experience and reputation, to give you an idea, MTN International Group had previously announced its intention to leave Yemen, as part of its strategy to gradually withdraw from several countries in the Middle East, including Yemen. Certainly, such a global company cannot take any unclear steps that may harm its reputation in the future; the same is true for the rest of the companies, including, for example, MTN Company, It is a subsidiary of AlZubair Investment Group, and this group is well known and owns several companies in several countries and registered in the Sultanate of Oman it is also one of the shareholders and founders of the company’s entity. The documents are available to the concerned authorities from the establishment until the last transformation and change consequently, there was keenness on both sides to follow the necessary legal procedures, according to which Omani Emerald owns 97.8% of the company after purchasing the share of MTN Group.
Were these measures announced?
Procedures for replacing and selling shares in closed Yemeni joint stock companies is well-known however, we made sure that the change was announced Inform all interested parties of the new situation, there was an official statement issued in the most prominent local and international media by MTN International Group in South Africa, it was followed by a statement from “MTN Yemen” after it became a subsidiary of AlZmored Company.
In fact, the buying and selling process did not take place within a day or two, as some might imagine it underwent a procedure that lasted several months, each party had an integrated legal team and a specialized international consulting firm, until it was announced the transition by means and procedures that are in accordance with internationally recognized global standards and the Yemeni laws in force.
Why did the company not continue in the name of MTN?
In fact, we do not have the right to continue with the same brand after the exit of “MTN” from Yemen, that is why the agreement was to continue working with the same brand for several months only until we establish a new brand, indeed, we launched the new name and the new brand in early March, and this was part of the agreement.
You confirm that the company is Omani, so what about the accusations that it is affiliated to Houthis?
We are talking about a leading telecom company in Yemen, therefore, it is not possible to hide information from the contributors, as mentioned previously, the company’s documents with the concerned authorities since its establishment until the last change according to Yemeni laws, and it was stated in the statement issued in November 2021, that Zmored Company acquired 97.8% of the company, and this company is Omani.
You mean Houthis have nothing to do with it?
We are a trading company that provides service to all Yemenis. Therefore, it is not in the interest of any commercial company or any investment project to be associated with a party, entity, or group, this is in the normal situation, so how if it comes to the exceptional situation that imposes on all investment projects to distance themselves as much as possible from any differences or conflicts so as not to be classified incorrectly which may affect its business activity.
As you can see, Zmored Company, which is affiliated with AlZubair Corporation and which owns the majority of the shares, was keen that the chairman of the directors’ board be Omani nationality and not Yemeni, so that the principle of disassociation is practically applied.
What do you think are the reasons for that?
I do not know whether the company’s fault is that it has devoted all its efforts to developing and modernizing telecommunications services and its infrastructure, starting with launch 4G service, which is the service that many have been waiting for, or are there other reasons… We will leave this to the public.
Certainly, everyone noticed the level of intensity of commercial competition, which may be one of the main reasons behind what is happening.
Did you contact with the legitimate government?
The various concerned parties have been notified of the company’s outcome, including the province in Aden. We sent messages in this regard, but we did not receive any response from the government side to our letter, the company has also issued official statements in this regard and it has been published in the media as well as on the company’s website.
Have you received messages stating that the legitimate government in Aden intends to close the company’s branches?
In fact, no, we were surprised by this because we believe that we work within the framework of law, closure is not a legal procedure and that is why we resorted to the judiciary. We do not care much about what is said as much as we care about restoring the service to our subscribers who were affected by the closure, and then focus on developing our business and serving our subscribers.
How is that?
We acknowledge the complexities of the situation and what this imposes on large projects such as telecom companies, in conjunction with our keenness to ensure that all our steps are legally sound, this balance, albeit difficult to achieve, as some might think, however, its achievement depends on the cooperation and response of all parties, dealing with it responsibly, and there are parties that already appreciate it.
What are the reasons of the closure?
We don’t want to go into this issue too much, but we believe that we have the right to clarify, and out of concern for our subscribers in Aden, we tried to communicate and understand with the various relevant authorities there, we have also taken the legal path, we were surprised that the case was postponed for three times, even though it is an urgent and clear case, we deal with it flexibly because we are confident that there are people in Aden who are keen on continuing service to people, it does not want to harm them or their interests, and everyone certainly followed the repercussions of this decision on the interests of the people and their businesses.
How many subscribers were affected by stopping the network in Aden?
This is a great responsibility. It is related to the city that largest part of its children from our subscribers. In fact, those affected are not only the participants, but also those who are related to them from work colleagues and relatives in Aden and the rest of the regions even if they are users of other companies, because communication with subscribers has stopped in Aden, so they cannot contact with their relatives, add to that the material and moral damage that befalls the company and the subscribers, as well as all those who depend on this service for their daily sustenance.
There is no justification for stopping the network and disrupting the interests of the people, in addition, the cutting has disrupted people’s private interests as well as public utilities.
Some assert that other influential parties in Aden stopped the network in Aden? How true is that?
Whatever it is…there is a responsibility that falls on all of us towards the beneficiaries of the service, especially in Aden, we are sorry to stop the network, the suspension that caused damage to the beneficiaries, and we believe that there are many who share our concern for the necessity of continuing service to citizens without any obstacles.
Do you expect YOU to return to Eden?
We did not leave Aden to return to it, the company’s services have been suspended, and the towers’ broadcasts have been disrupted and sabotaged. This is a measure, even if it harms the interests of the participants, but it is, as we believe, temporary, we are keen to resolve the issue, there are those concerned who are responsible for dealing with this issue and keeping it away from any negative effects as a result of commercial competition between this party and the other.
And I will reveal an important matter, that when we plan to develop telecommunications services and infrastructure, and start operating 4G, we did not expect to face obstacles in Aden… Yes, we expected to face difficulties in other areas, and the last thing we expected was what happened in Aden, as this city represents in terms of culture, status, commitment and responsibility, in addition, any differences could have been resolved away from such illegal measures, which we did not expect, because we knew about Yemenis a good understanding, and not to resort to such subversive practices, especially in a city before it was the temporary capital of the country, which is considered one of the most prominent cities if not the most important at the commercial level.
It was recently published that one of the reasons for stopping the network is blackmail that you are subjected to and that you provided commissions to several parties in order to secure and continue the service in Aden?
Everything that is said and published in this regard is not true. We are dealing with reality and everyone who cooperates with us in order to secure the service has all our thanks, as we are aware that there are responsibilities that fall on the shoulders of the responsible authorities, foremost of which is the concern of security. Therefore, protecting and securing the various interests of people falls on the shoulders of the security authorities, because if there were no security, capital would not have been provided to the country.
What about the company’s compensation claim as a result of stopping the service, and how much are those compensations estimated? This is part of the lawsuit that the court can assess, we still reserve the right to seek redress through international law, but we think the most important step for us is restoring the service.
What if the subscribers demand the company for compensation as a result of stopping the service?
We believe that every person affected has the right to demand the necessary compensation from those who caused this damage, the company made it clear that the suspension was out of our control and officially went to the Yemeni judiciary, this action is what can be taken by any company or entity that respects the laws of the country and works within its framework.
Did you encounter difficulties in Sana’a and in other regions?
Difficulties and obstacles are everywhere, but they have been overcome, we had hoped that this would happen in Aden, meaning that all difficulties are overcome before you reach what you have reached, and in the end, we are an investment company that is interested in providing a service to people in all regions without exception, it is our duty, as we believe, to reach all of our services, this requires us to be keen on securing these services and their continuity through the authorities that have the task of imposing security and protect and secure these services, just as it is in the rest of the countries.
In your opinion, what happened to the company in Aden affect the future of joint projects between Yemen and Oman, especially in the field of communications? it may be that what happened presents a negative picture, but it cannot be measured against, as we are facing an exceptional situation, and there is a keenness to overcome it. We appreciate that keenness, and that is why we believe there is a tendency from the Yemeni and Omani sides to strengthen cooperation in the field of communications, what was recently announced will achieve a qualitative leap and everyone will benefit from it.
Your last message?
We assure to all subscribers that we are very keen to resume service in Aden at the earliest opportunity, and we are not the only one’s keen on this. I believe that the authorities in Aden also have the same care and responsibility, we also assure our Yemeni brothers in all provinces of the republic that we will work to defy the difficulties, and to develop and provide them the best services.