Published on January 23, 2011 by Cocorioko News · No Comments
The attention of the National Telecommunications Commission (NATCOM) has been drawn to a Press Statement Released by the opposition Sierra Leone Peoples Party (SLPP) during their seventh monthly Press Briefing held at the Party HQ on Wednesday 12 January 2011; Unfounded allegations were levied against the Commission on a number of issues intended to put the Commission in a bad light. In view of the above, the Commission hereby whishes to set the record straight by making the following clarifications on the issues raised and to correctly inform the General Public as follows:
ISSUE ONE: STAFF RECRUITMENT
Contrary to the accusation that the recruitment process of NATCOM staff is on partisan basis, we wish to reiterate the point that NATCOM is a National Independent Body, devoid of political and/or partisan affiliation. Secondly, the recruitment process of staff is in line with normal competitive recruitment procedures, which involve advertising the vacant posts, interviewing applicants and selecting the best applicant who meets the required criteria.
ISSUE TWO: OFFICE OF THE DIRECTOR GENERAL
The office of Director-General was advertised and applicants interviewed, none of whom met the required criteria. The Commission reported the outcome of the interview to the Minister of Information who advised the President accordingly. Thereafter, three options were considered to get the post filled. They include readvertising, sole-sourcing and highest
scorer, and one of the options was adopted. The appointee was further subjected to an interview by the Board before he was offered the position. He would take up office on 1st February 2011. Until that date, the Deputy Director General is performing the day-to-day operations of the Commission, assisted by Senior Management.
ISSUE THREE: ACTIVE PARTICIPATION OF COMMISSIONERS
On the active participation of Commissioners in the day-to-day Management of the Commission, we would like to clarify that each Commissioner chairs a sub-committee of the Commission overseeing/monitoring the activities of the various Departments. The formation of these sub-committees is provided for by Section 12 of the Telecommunications Act 2006 as amended. Overseeing the functions of the said sub-committees by Commissioners cannot be equated to active participation of Commissioners in the day-to-day Management of the Commission.
In response to ISSUE FOUR RELATING TO THE DISCHARGE OF CORPORATE SOCIAL RESPONSIBILITY, the Commission wishes to state that the sum of 1.9 million dollars referred to, was the Commission’s contribution to the National Revenue and as part of the Commission’s payment of 1/3 of its revenue to the Consolidated Revenue Fund (CRF) through the Ministry of Information and Communication. The said amount of money was never given as a discharge of corporate social responsibility to the then SLBS by the Commission. The now Director of Communications in the Sierra Leone People’s Party (SLPP), drew up the agreement to that effect when he was Director of Legal/Licence of the Commission. Divulging such information amounts to a breach of confidentiality.
Regarding the allegation that the Commission is wasting revenue to cover numerous trips by Commissioners, we wish to further state that, members of staff of the Commission take more part in telecommunications conferences abroad than Commissioners. In addition, trips by Commissioners to some of these conferences are not needless as alleged in the Press Statement, given the dynamic nature of the telecommunications industry. Therefore, this allegation is unfounded in view of Section 9 sub-Sections 2 paragraph (H) of the Telecommunications Act, 2006 as amended, which provides as follows: “It shall be the function of the Commission to internationally represent Sierra Leone in matters of telecommunications”.
On the issue of the allegation relating to a slush fund account to fund APC Propaganda, the Commission hereby categorically denies knowledge of the existence of such an account if any an considers the allegation as a figment of imagination of the authors of the said Press Statement. Having said the above, the Commission as a National Body is interested in the National Development of the country including the cohesiveness of all Political Parties in Sierra Leone.