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Africell Ordered to Pay NATCOM US$500,000

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Africell Ordered to Pay NATCOM US$500,000

At a hurriedly convened meeting at the Ministry of Information and Communications at Youyi Building yesterday, the Minister of Information and Communications, Alhaji Alpha Kanu ordered Africell Sierra Leone to pay all outstanding regulatory fees to NATcom (National Telecommunications Commission) today or face immediate shut down. The amount owing to NATcom is US$500,000 (Five hundred thousand United States dollars).
Yesterday’s meeting was attended by the Director General of NATcom, Mohamed Bangura, the Chief Executive Officer of Africell, Shadi Gerjawi and top officials of the Ministry of Information and Communications.
Reports say, the Management of Africell have agreed to pay the outstanding amount to NATcom today. Details of the method of payment are yet to be made public.
The Management of Africell have pleaded with the Director General of NATcom to give them up to January 2015 to be able to convert their billing system from Unit per Minute to Leones per Second. No decision has been taken on his request.
Africell’s decision to refuse to comply with statutory regulations in the telecoms sector has been described as a show of brazen arrogance by the Lebanese led Management of the company.
Nobody knows why the Management of Africell have refused to comply with the new billing regime which came into effect on 1st July, 2014.
NATcom had imposed a US$2,000 (Two thousand United States dollars) a day fine from September 1st, 2014 on Africell for failing to comply with a key regulation. Nobody knows why the arrogant Management of Africell have refused to pay up the fine.
Many subscribers of Africell have accused the leading GSM operator of “daylight robbery” for failing to convert their billing system to the new billing regime announced by NATcom.
Meanwhile, the Management of NATcom have been accused of “babysitting” Africell for pecuniary consideration. This allegation has been denied by the Management of NATcom.
Investigations continue on Airtel’s letter of complaint to NATCOM against Africell dated 13th November, 2014.

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