By S. U. Thoronka.
The Chairman of the National Telecommunications Commission (NATCOM), Momoh Konte has imposed a total fine of US$1,350,000 (one million three thousand United States on three mobile companies for what he referred to as none compliance with the agreed KPIs (Key Performance Indicators).
In addition to the fine which should be honored on or before Thursday 7th September, 2017 they should offer free calls for three consecutive days as compensation to subscribers who felt cheated by them.
The three mobile companies include Airtel (Orange SL), US$750,000, Africell US$400,000 and Sierratel US$200,000.
This was disclosed at a press conference held at NATCOM Headquarters at Hill Station, which Chairman Momoh Konte described as very critical, adding that NATCOM is here to equally protect the interest of the numerous subscribers nationwide.
In his briefing, the Chairman informed pressmen that four months before now, it was agreed between NATCOM and the mobile companies that service should be improved based on prescribed benchmarks. But according to the Chairman that has not happened, as subscribers continue to experience poor service delivery.
He said it is common in Sierra Leone for people to brand others with different nomenclature of bribery, but that notwithstanding, he said he can vouch for all employees of NATCOM from top to bottom that bribery is a thing of the past.
He said the findings NATCOM made in relation to the performance of the mobile companies were based on scientific proof using modern technology to ascertain the facts, adding that the findings have not been challenged by any of the mobile companies which to him proves accurate.
He noted that in spite of the ample time given to the mobile companies the various sites did not meet the threshold while Airtel was the least performer.
Chairman Momoh Konte made it categorically clear that the fines imposed were based on legal consideration pursuant to Section 40 sub-sections 1, 4 and 5 of the Telecommunications Act. He was also categorical when he said, “being a businessman myself both within and outside Sierra Leone I would like to treat people the same way I would like others to treat me”.
He took cognizance of the average man in the interior part of the country who could not access communication due to poor service delivery, unlike those he referred to as fortunate who live in urban areas like Freetown.