Two Representatives Decry Lonestar Cell: -Want Company Pay US$725,000; Shut Down Temporarily
Two ranking members of the House of Representatives Eugene F. Kpakar and Gabriel B. Smiths, in a Joint Statement on Tuesday called on Lonestar MTN to pay all fines and comply with penalties imposed by the Liberia Telecommunications Authority (LTA) to ensure the full compliance of the laws of the Republic of Liberia.
The Lawmakers insisted that Lonestar MTN is in violation and must conform to all the regulations of the Liberia Telecommunications Authority (LTA), according Sections 34(a) and 7.71(d) of the Telecommunication Act of 2007.
The Lofa and Grand Bassa Counties' Representatives disclosed that their assertion derived from a “candid investigation.”
“We are also of the unwavering opinion that LTA's regulatory powers over the service providers can be best described as central bank and commercial banks kind of relationship or simply put the traffic police and the taxi driver kind of analogy.
“We are also of the firm opinion that Lonestar MTN must conform or be made to conform to all the regulations of the LTA and be made to pay all fines and penalties to ensure full compliance of the laws of the Republic of Liberia.
According to the two lawmakers, who are members of the Pan African Parliament (PAP), with headquarters in Johannesburg, South Africa, intimated that the so-called leader of converged telecommunications, Lonestar MTN, violated the 'Telecommunications Act of 2007' which variably necessitated the action of the LTA.
The lawmakers stressed that Lonestar MTN should submit to the LTA's order inter alia imposed fine of US$225,000 as it relates to the blocking of Cellcom calls to Lonestar in April 2011 as well as the US$500,000 fine for the unilateral shutdown of its network on November 7, 2012.
The Representatives also requested Lonestar MTN to abide by the LTA's decision of temporarily shutting down for a month, and transfer all its subscribers to an agreeable GSM Company, for unilaterally restricting the calls of Comium to Lonestar.
“We are also using this medium to call all members of the three branches of government and the public in general to respect government institutions and support their statutory mandates for the good of Liberia and Liberians. Any attempt to disregard or undermine the very institution you created is tantamount to shooting yourself in the leg or stabbing yourself in the back. A hint for a wise is quite sufficient,” Rep. Eugene F. Kpakar averred.
They divulged that Lonestar MTN was in error according to the inter-connection regulations of Liberia and is also in breach of the international gateway license terms on the issue of broad band being routed from a company in Ivory Coast.
“Lonestar is acquiring 3G through an illegal international gateway, thereby constituting a serious breach of its license terms as opposed to 2G data application.
“In view of those clear infractions and flagrant disregard of the Telecommunication Act of 2007, we are of the highly considered opinion that the LTA which came into force as a result of a legislative enactment must be respected to the latter and her powers to regulate service providers be scrupulously adhered to without unnecessary pre-conditions,” the Representatives said.