Recently, the House of Representatives, through its Committee on Posts and Telecommunications conducted public hearings on the fourteen cents reportedly charged for all international calls to Liberia. The essence of the hearings was to enable members of the committee understand from the various GSM Companies-Lonestar, Cellcom, Comium and Libercell, as well as the LTA itself reason(s) behind such service charge.
Another reason was an opportunity for the GSM Companies to provide clarity on whether or not the fourteen-cents was an additional burden on consumers, as was rumored in certain quarters. Following the hearings, a temporary halt was placed on the fourteen-cent charged for all international calls by the LTA, probably for an indebt understanding of the matter so that an amicable settlement could be reached between the Regulator and House of Representatives free of undue publicity.
Just days following the House’s decision, the airwaves became persistently saturated with claims and accusations of corruption and administrative malpractices at the LTA by Bomi County Senator Sando Johnson. At the core of the Senator’s argument was the same-old fourteen-cent service charge on all international calls already being handled by the House of Representatives. Senator Johnson’s action may not have gone down well with the authority who rubbished his public utterances against the institution as irresponsible.
Of course to his annoyance, Sando Johnson returned to the airwaves with an emotional exception to the attribution and a warning to the Chairperson of the LTA. While the issue abide is one that may require detailed and simple understanding as is being considered by the House of Representatives, it is our fervent belief that the Bomi County Senator actually miscalculated the timing and channel of his “decision to go war”.
To take upon himself to the airwaves and not exercising proper care as an honorable man, as well as ignoring the Senate’s Committee on Post & Telecommunications by not channeling his qualms was the first set of errors committed by Senator Johnson. The fact that the House of Representatives was already handling the matter, it was incumbent on the Bomi County Senator to exercise patience, awaiting the final outcome from the House. While he may have had his own objective(s) for raising the “fourteen-cent” the issue at the same time members of the House were addressing same, it was equally unfair to the House and LTA for Comrade Senator Johnson to “jump into conclusion”.
Perhaps had the Honorable Comrade been abreast of the Act creating the Liberia Telecommunications Authority, as well as the nature of the discussions between the Committee on Post and Telecommunications, he would have either guided his utterances or not attempted taking to the airwaves. He would have even avoided the un-necessary radicalism and channeled his issue through the committee on Post and Telecommunications at the Liberian Senate. But to thrive on the path he chose was a political accident, and he needs to ratify such behavior.