Trustco seeks to have Econet directors jailed for 90 days over Ecolife

Quinton Van Rooyen and Douglas Mboweni
Quinton Van Rooyen (Trustco Mobile) & Douglas Mboweni (Econet Zim CEO) at the launch of Ecolife in 2010

The Ecolife case, now a thorn in Econet’s side, is not over yet. The main headline on the Herald front page today reads “Econet bosses face arrest”. The story basically says Trustco is mad that Econet is ‘getting away with murder’ and they are seeking, through the courts, to have Econet chairman Tawanda Nyambirai, deputy FD Roy Chimanikire and CEO & director Douglas Mboweni jailed for 90 days. They also want Econet to be fined US $20,000 for the offence.

The offence in question is that Econet didn’t resume the Ecolife service and give Trusto access to the system and usage data when the courts ordered them to on two separate occasions last year. You will remember that when the High Court judgment was passed on 25 July last year, Econet appealed against it to the Supreme Court the following week. But Econet was eventually ordered in October to resume Ecolife pending judgment over the appeal.

Econet did resume the service. In the most half-hearted manner possible of course.


In response to the new contempt of court allegations CEO Mboweni has, according to the Herald, deposed an affidavit on behalf of his employer “categorically and emphatically” denying the allegations. The affidavit says in part “not even one iota of evidence has been set out in the deponent’s affidavit to support the averment that the respondents have occasioned non compliance with the provisional orders”.

The three Econet directors also argue that they were never cited in the court proceedings in which the two orders were issued and that they were never served with the orders in question.  They argue in their papers that Econet had fully complied with the court orders but that the service of the two provisional orders was defective. As for access to the platform and its historic data, Econet argues, Trustco did get it when the restored last year.

The article says the High Court is yet to determine the contempt of court application.

Trustco is not likely to get anyone jailed ofcourse, but nothing can be ruled out. As for the 20k fine, it’s the pettiest cash for a company the size of Econet Wireless Zimbabwe.

We’re curious why the allegations have been filed now. Why now? Why not back in February when the agreement expired and Econet basically killed Ecolife? Could Trustco have got wind of a new Ecolife under development by Econet?

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3 thoughts on “Trustco seeks to have Econet directors jailed for 90 days over Ecolife

  1. And that my dear friends is Econet for you… Smile in your face, invite you to dinner then stabs you in the back!!!
    I believe the request for the fine (though as you state is a drop in the ocean foe Econet) is more to do with a default judgement being passed than to hurt their pockets. Also looking at our level of fines, $20,000 is a tall order.
    So, really gives us budding innovator encouragement to join with Econet, doesn’t it?

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