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Why Always NATCOM?

Why Always NATCOM?

A complaints letter written to the editor of Standard Times Newspaper by one Ambrose Mahoi has again put the National Telecommunications commission on the spotlight for yet another wrong reason.

It is no gainsaying that NATCOM since the coming of the Sierra Leone peoples Party led government of President Julius Maada Bio has been on the spotlight for various reasons ranging from the persistent summary dismissals of Sierra Leoneans working at the institution who according to many citizens are rendered jobless because of political reasons to the imposition of flat tariff rates on mobile companies which subsequently resulted to a ban on all fee calls for customers of the mobile companies among others.

This trend seems to have continued two years on and by every indication; it does not seem to end anytime soon.

This could well be seen in the recent letter of complaints written to the Standard Times Editor which stated thus

‘’The National Telecommunications Commission – Natcom, as with many other governmental agencies, is a public entity fully owned by the Government of Sierra Leone and by extension, the nation and the proud citizens of our country.  All citizens of Sierra Leone with the requisite qualifications and experience carry the “inalienable rights,” to work at Natcom.

The recent summary dismissals of seventeen staff at Natcom as reported in your publication (“NATCOM AGAIN! 17 RENDERED JOBLESS”) of Tuesday 30th June, 2020, is not only unfair and egregious to the human race, but it is untimely, unlawful, discriminatory, and borderline, unrepresentative of the ideals of our current President and Father of the nation, His Excellency the President, Rtd. Brigadier-General Julius Maada Bio and our dearly loved Mother of the nation, Her Excellency, Madam Fatima Bio.

I am informed that, in early March 2020, the current Honourable Minister of Information placed a moratorium on all staff sackings across Natcom. Even the late Chairman (Alhaji Sheriff), was approached (on Wednesday 6th May, 2020) by the current DG, with a list of 15 staff slated for dismissals. The late Chairman then, outrightly discouraged Mr. Daniel Kaitibie and the rest of the Board from “entertaining” any sackings, deeming such as “reprisal sackings.” I am told that up until 6th June (the passing away of the Chairman), there were no Board discussions and decision on the proposed (by the DG) sackings list.

So, a very important question now is, when, where and how did the Board meet to carry out this unpatriotic and unsavoury act? Further, why is it that, the former DG was barred from even thinking of supposedly sacking Natcom staff members, but this current DG was supposedly given the “green light” to unlawfully dismiss (No Course dismissals) these Sierra Leoneans? I am told that, through the Minister, a number of persons (including Directors, Senior Deputy Directors, Managers, etc.) were directly hired at Natcom during year 2019 and suffice to say, none of them are on the list of the 17 persons dismissed last week.

It is of utter sadness but not surprise to see the insipid response or statement dished out by the Director of Corporate and Industrial Affairs, Mr. Abdul Ben Foday. It will be very helpful to the nation if Mr. Ben Foday can provide more details (dates and documents) on the so-called “reforms” and “reengineering” Natcom has undertaken since 2nd January, 2020 to date, that warrant these 17 staff to be redundant. Mr. Ben Foday further quoted excerpts of the Natcom Act in stating that, “In the performance of its functions —- the Commission shall not be subject to the direction or control of any person or authority.” Is Mr. Ben Foday suggesting that, a Minister assigned to the sector, does not carry the legal authority to interfere with the operations of Natcom?

No one group of persons or “fan club” owns Natcom.  Natcom is owned by all Sierra Leoneans with equal equity and shares. If Mr. Kaitibie has any personal differences with a given person, he has all the rights in the world to challenge and or confront that person individually. He must not take out his personal vendetta towards someone else and transfer it to any innocent and law-abiding citizens. It should be noted that, this DG would have sacked (singlehandedly) a total of 46 staff since his appointment to Natcom. Mr. Kaitibie is adept in unlawful dismissals. I am urging our father of this nation to examine the spate of sackings and overall management and supervision of Natcom in the immediacy.’’

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