News reports that the Chief Executive Officer of Orange Liberia. Mamadou Coulibaly had been invited to the offices of the National Security Agency to answer to charges of his suspected involvement in the June 25 riot and violence which led to the setting up of road blocks and burning tires to barricade the Tubman Boulevard near the Old Road junction has left many questions unanswered particularly in view of growing public suspicion that the riot was actually masterminded by highly placed individuals said to be linked to a new GSM company shortly to be established in Liberia.
A highly placed source (name withheld) told the Daily Observer that top officials are linked to this company. According to the source, the proposed increase in floor price of data and voice calls is intended to place immeasurable strain on GSM companies currently operating in the country which will serve to edge out either one or both companies, force their closure due to high operating costs and ultimately cede their market shares to this new company. But officials have remained tight-lipped on the matter arguing that the case is already pending judicial review and according to a well known legal practitioner(name withheld) the matter is sub-judice meaning that he cannot discuss the merit or demerits of the case at bar because such could cause an offense to the Court.
Meanwhile, the Chief Executive Officer has confirmed in a press release that the proposed increase in floor price of data and voice calls will jeopardize their investments and continuity of their business enterprise in Liberia.
But according to analysts, the closure or pullout of any or both of the currently operating GSM companies will spell doom for an economy already struggling to cope with negative growth rates and the adverse effects of COVID-19.
And they believe strongly that should the Liberia Telecommunications Authority persist in maintaining its stance on the increase in floor price the resultant consequences will cause immeasurable harm to the country’s economic interests with implications for peace and stability.
In its reaction to developments surrounding the invitation extended to Orange Liberia Chief Executive Officer, Mamadou Coulibaly, the company issued the following statement below:
“The Chief Executive Officer of Orange Liberia Mr. Mamadou Coulibaly was invited by the National Security Agency (NSA) of Liberia for questioning in relation to protests
held in Monrovia on June 25, 2020, against the imposition of new Surcharges on mobile voice on-net and data.
Orange assures the public that Orange Liberia stands by its policy of non-involvement in politics as it is the main rule of conduct within the Group worldwide. Under no circumstances does Orange support politics nor has the company or any of its executives been involved in political actions directly or indirectly.
As regards to the issue of the imposition of Surcharges to current tariffs, and as Orange Liberia’s shareholder, Orange Group has analyzed the impact of the Surcharges of the LTA Order 0016- 02-25-19 and concluded that these additional Surcharges imposed to GSM operators are jeopardizing their investments and their business continuity in Liberia.
Therefore, the Board of Orange Liberia instructed Mr. Mamadou Coulibaly, as CEO of the company, to make a case before the Courts of Liberia. Orange, as a law-abiding corporation, believes that the best recourse is always through the use of dialogue with the authorities and the rule of law.”
It remains to be seen however which way the Supreme Court is going to rule on this matter.