Presenting oral evidence before parliament’s Portfolio Committee on Media, Information, Communication and Technology, the company’s directors insisted they had the financial muscle that would have allowed them to be broadcasting by now.
“According to our tender document, we would have been able to go on air by now,” Hot Media co-director Phibion Gwatidzo Thursday.
“We had the most funds compared to all the bidders. We had $5.4 million available for the roll whereas the winning bidder had US$1,9 million compared to us.”
The Hot Media director, who was assisted in his presentation by co-director Sharon Mugabe, said this after directors of successful bidders ZimPapers’ Talk Radio had told the parliamentary committee their station would only start broadcasting in two months time while and AB Communications’ Zi FM said it would be ready in three months.
But Mugabe was adamant the licencing process by Tafataona Mahoso was fraught with irregularities to a point that it had to grant licences to those who were not ready for the challenge.
Mugabe also lambasted Mahoso and his BAZ for having considered Zi FM’s bid despite having one individual, former ZBC broadcaster Super Mandiwanzira owning 70 percent stake in the project and also having a foreign share holder.
Kiss FM was denied one of the two broadcasting licences after having been found to have failed to “show ability to comply with technical standards”.
According to the controversial adjudication process, the company also did not show programming schedules and were found short on demonstrating that they could use other languages other than English.
The Kiss FM directors were up in arms over the entire process.
“We feel that the adjudication process was not entirely open and fair,” Mugabe said.
“Kiss FM was the first to present the bid document in October hearings open to media, competitors sat in to listen and had time to go and perfect their bid documents hearings after listening through our presentation. We felt that gave them an unfair advantage over us.”
Meanwhile, Vox Media’s VOPFM, the other applicant denied the licence to operate, did not appear before the portfolio committee, despite being summoned to do so.
VoxMedia Executive Director John Masuku told Radio VOP a board representative from the company will this Friday spell out reason at a press conference.
The hearings are aimed at gathering the concerns and inputs of the players with a view to formulating strategies that would feed into government’s policies of media issues.