Massive Corruption At NATCOM – DG & DDG Implicated
Maxwell Hinga Massaquoi was one of the people hired by the then Kabbah government to setup NATCOM in 2007 on the understanding that he would apply for one of the jobs afterwards. Unfortunately, Massaquoi failed to provide any authenticate qualification to the first chairman of NATCOM, Kanji Daramy (RIP), in support of the job he applied for and so flatly rejected. The circulated rumour that Massaquoi served as an employee of NATCOM under the chairmanship of Kanji Daramy is bogus.
About 11 years later today, Maxwell Massaquoi is back at NATCOM and this time deliberately refusing to submit his CV and certificates for verification and filing as the new substantive Director General. The NATCOM Act makes it explicitly clear that the DG and his deputy (DDG) are appointed 100% by the Board and not the President as in other parastatals. Knowing fully well that they are not qualified and lack any regulatory experience, Maxwell Massaquoi and his deputy, Daniel Bobson Kaitibie, allegedly bribed their way to NATCOM through highly influential and well-connected people who aggressively lobbied the President, His Excellency Julius Maada Bio for their appointments without going through the statutory recruitment procedure of the Board.
The manner in which Massaquoi and Kaitibie have been employed to head NATCOM is the same as employing a domestic servant in Sierra Leone, a rather crude and informal process that is purely based on recommendation. That is: No job advert; No submission of CVs to NATCOM; No submission of genuine copies of certificates to NATCOM; and No job interview by the Board of NATCOM. Put bluntly, Massaquoi and Kaitibie have been employed purely through verbal recommendations like any domestic servant. Their appointments are therefore legally untenable.
The telecom industry was shocked to the core when it was circulated on social media that the President had directly appointed Massaquoi and Kaitibie as DG and DDG on 23rd August 2018 in contravention of the NATCOM Act and in serious breach of the procurement laws of Sierra Leone. This is unconstitutional and has an element of corruption by people close to the President whom the Anti-Corruption Commission must now identify and investigate. There is no suggestion that the President is aware of any bribery in this matter. Massaquoi and Kaitibie are both Mende by tribe and from the South and East of Sierra Leone.
The abbreviation, UU, used to stand for “untrained and unqualified” when referring to teachers with no training and no teaching qualification in the 70s, 80s and 90s. As of 4th April 2018, *UU* now stands for *“Unconstitutional and Unqualified”* when referring to non-political appointees who are recruited by State House under the presidency of H.E. Julius Maada Bio and Chief Minister, Professor David Francis.
The relationship between the NATCOM chairman, Dr Prince Harding, and DG/DDG started well until the latter were asked to produce their CVs and originals of their certificates for verification and the Commission’s records. The UU DG and UU DDG went bitterly ballistic while boasting disrespectfully that if anyone wants to see their CVs and certificates they should “contact President Julius Maada Bio” who appointed them. And that they’re not accountable to anyone other than the President. Over 2 months today since their appointments, the two UU appointees continue to defy the instruction for submission of their CVs and originals of their certificates. The reason for their defiance is very simple: the purported qualifications of the UU DG and his UU deputy are either fake or don’t relate to the ICT sector for which they’ve been employed to regulate in serious breach of the Telecoms Act. NATCOM being a public institution, any fake qualification, if proven, constitutes an act of corruption and the Anti-Corruption Commission must therefore demand immediate submission of their certificates for verification.
The Board is the sole employer of NATCOM with the statuary mandate to hire and fire employees according to the Telecoms Act and Employee Handbook of the Commission. Section 49 of the Employee Handbook makes it mandatory that all letters of dismissal must be signed by the Chairman/ Commissioner. However, in a very bizarre development that is currently rocking NATCOM, Massaquoi and Kaitibie have made repeated attempts to usurp the role of the Board by unlawfully sacking and employing staff without even consulting the Chairman, Dr Prince Harding. This blatant breach of recruitment and disciplinary procedures of the Commission is itself an act of corruption that should be investigated by the Anti-Corruption Commission. Our investigation further reveals that both men are desperate to usurp the role of the Chairman/Board as a way of making money through bribery on a massive scale. As a matter of fact, they have been busy offering jobs in exchange for cash depending on the level as follows:
- Le 50 million for director level
- Le 45 million for deputy director level
- Le 40 million for manager level
- Le 35 million for supervisor level
- Le 20 million for secretary and other levels
Upon receipt of Le 50 million as bribe, the UU DG of NATCOM went on to hire someone as director who had previously resigned from the Commission as Manager few years ago. He even travelled with him to Guinea on an official trip without State House clearance and at the full expense of NATCOM. This illegal appointment was brought to the attention of the chairman, Dr Prince Harding, who wasted no time to reverse it and demanded full refund of the per diem and return fare to Guinea. Having spent the Le 50 million bribe, the UU DG reacted desperately by requesting an executive clearance for the recruitment of his director. Unfortunately for him, this happened at a time his protector, President Maada Bio, was out of the country. The Vice President, His Excellency Mohamed J. Jalloh replied correctly and professionally through his secretary that the appointment of the new director was a matter for the Board of NATCOM and not the Office of the President. This reply was widely shared on social media.
As if this was not enough, the UU DG and his UU deputy also insisted on sacking two female employees without any allegation of impropriety against them in order to replace them with people from whom they had already collected money as bribe for both appointments. The Chairman swiftly came to the rescue of the two female employees by reversing their dismissals. However, having collected bribes for the two potential vacancies, the UU DG and his UU deputy have continued to terrorise the staff on a daily basis. Solicitors representing one of the two employees have already written a strongly-worded warning letter to the UU DDG with the possibility of court action if harassment of their client persists.
Our investigation reveals that Massaquoi and Kaitibie had previously identified over 30 employees, including all directors and their deputies, for carpet dismissal and their jobs offered in exchange for cash. The constant threat of mass dismissals remains a source of sleepless nights for all employees of NATCOM. Our intelligent sources have reliably informed us that the UU DG and his UU deputy have already collected a total of over Le 200 million in advance payments for these jobs. Harassment of many other employees of NATCOM is ongoing on a daily basis as a way of forcing them to resign, which in legal terms will constitute constructive dismissal. Massaquoi even demands that employees put their hands behind their backs in military style when talking to him. With no respect for the Chairman, both men nag for most of the time and use the f-word freely when interacting with employees. We are aware that Massaquoi and Kaitibie are being incited by enemies of the Chairman within the SLPP political party who are actively seeking his dismissal by the President out of jealousy. We shall name them in due course.
The former DG, Victor Findlay (a *Creole* from Freetown) and former DDG, Musa Nur Kamara (a *Temne* from the North), were both replaced without being found guilty of any offence, neither were they even issued with any letter of dismissal at least for their own personal records. Their terminal benefits after 10 years of service are also outstanding. At the same time, Victor Findlay’s predecessor, Senesie Kallon, who retired from NATCOM in 2016, was recently appointed Managing Director of the government owned Sierratel at the age of 62 in contravention of President Bio’s Executive Order number 1. We also note that Mr Kallon is a Mende by tribe from the East and a strong member of the ruling SLPP party who openly took part in political rallies (in 2007, 2012 & 2018) and subsequently acted as one of their polling agents in the 2018 elections in full view of the general public.
In the name of equal treatment for all tribes, justice dictates that the appointments of the inexperienced Maxwell Massaquoi and Daniel Kaitibie be reversed by the President with immediate effect, while Victor Findlay and Musa Nur Kamara are fully reinstated as highly experienced and qualified DG and DDG respectively. In the name of peace and the achievement of a cohesive society, senior government officials at State House must end and reverse their ongoing agenda of sacking non-political employees in parastatals and civil servants in Ministries who are deemed to be members or supporters of any political party in opposition, especially APC, NGC and C4C. Many government officials in office today took part in SLPP’S political rallies in the run-up to the 2018 elections but have been treated with favours.
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