StarTimes DRC suspended, Télé 7 could be next

By Issa Sikiti da Silva, in Kinshasa, DR Congo

StarTimes is no longer broadcasting in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) pending further investigation and the court’s case on the issue of frequencies.

The decision to cut the Chinese TV operator’s signal temporarily came after initial investigations found that the frequencies used by Chinese pay TV operator were issued to it by Télé 7, and not by the government. Télé 7 is a local broadcaster owned by Senator Modeste Mutinga, who allegedly made a lucrative deal with the Chinese to use the Télé 7 frequencies.

Now, the eagle’s eyes of DRC Prime Minister Matata Ponyo are on Télé 7, which analysts believe could get the same treatment for plotting with foreigners to defraud the country.

Biztechafrica visited some branches across the capital Kinshasa on Wednesday but found them all closed.

“Our future has been compromised by this saga because we don’t know what’s next. Will we lose our jobs? I don’t know. We are still in the dark,” an employee of StarTimes told Biztechafrica on condition of anonymity.

The StarTimes DRC affair appears to have brought the government into disrupt as cabinet members – some of which were benefitting from this fraudulent investment – are divided and indecisive as to how best to handle the affair.

“This is a big scandal and a well-organised chaos. What should we do now and where will go to get our money back?” StarTimes subscriber Bosco Lisiki said.

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