Zimbabwean operator Econet Wireless has been awarded US$455,000 by an international arbitrator to be paid by Namibian software company TrustCo, in the finale of a three-year legal battle.

The international arbitrator was selected by the two parties following the ruling of the Supreme Court of Zimbabwe in favour of Econet, with the arbitrator left to decide the amount of damages to be paid by the parties.

In 2010 Econet launched its Ecolife insurance offering, supported by a software system developed and owned by TrustCo, paying a licence fee for use of the system.

TrustCo proceeded to raise the fee a year later, prompting the end of the popular Ecolife service as well as the legal battle which ensued, resulting in the Supreme Court of Zimbabwe ruling favour of Econet, although the financial claims were referred to an arbitrator of the parties’ choice.

TrustCo claimed it was owed US$6,978,846.30 by Econet with respect to the licence.

The arbitrator decided on Wednesday not only does Econet not owe the claimed amount, but TrustCo in fact must pay US$455,000 to Econet.

“We are very pleased with this final ruling. Although we have won the court case, the software system used for Ecolife belongs to Trustco and not to Econet. It is not possible to run it without this software. We are now free to look at other options,” said an Econet spokesperson.

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