LCA boss faces ouster

LCA boss faces ouster

MASERU – ‘MAMARAME Matela, the chief executive of the Lesotho Communications Authority (LCA), is in trouble over a M500 million contract awarded to an international company.
Matela is also facing suspension, pending an investigation.

The seven-year contract is alleged to have been awarded to Global Voice Group (GCG) without following procedures. It involves GCG supplying what is called a compliance monitoring and revenue assurance tool.
The tool is used to monitor mobile networks’ compliance with the LCA’s regulations.

It also monitors the revenue generated by the operators so that they don’t short-change the regulator and subscribers.
It is alleged that the contract was awarded without following the authority’s regulations and against the Ministry of Communications’ advice.
Communications Minister, Keketso Sello, is understood to have instructed the LCA board to consider suspending Matela. Sello said he could neither confirm nor deny his move to have Matela suspended.

The chairman of the board, Motanyane Makara, said he was not at liberty to discuss the issue because it’s the subject of a meeting between the minister and the board.

This paper however understands that the board discussed the minister’s instruction last week but felt it needed more information about the allegations before making a decision.
This board also discussed the matter at a meeting on Tuesday.
Sello is said to have accused Matela of signing off the contract without consulting the board.

There are also allegations that the GCG’s charges do not make economic sense.
Under the contract, the LCA pays the company M6.3 million per month.
The authority’s annual budget is M120 million which goes to salaries, taxes and other expenses.

The money comes from regulatory fees that mobile operators pay to the authority. Sources however said some senior managers at the authority were opposed to the contract on the basis that the monthly fees were too high.
“They thought the authority should not be spending that much on a project that would not significantly increase revenues,” said a senior LCA official who requested anonymity.

He said after consultations with the Ministry of Communications it was agreed that the contract would have to be funded by levies that were to be charged to the mobile companies.
Those levies were however supposed to be approved by parliament before the contract was signed.

Matela is accused of going ahead with the contract before the levies were discussed and approved.
Her phone was not being answered until the time of going to print last night.

Staff Reporter

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