Police authorities here say Orange Chief Executive Officer (CEO)Mr. Mamadou Coulibaly is now a subject of the National Security Agency (NSA probe, changing previous statement that the Ivorian national was being investigated by their department.
Mr. Coulibaly is being investigated for his alleged connection with protesters who set roadblocks and set tires alight last week to demand that government drop surcharges being impose on GSM companies here.
The protest comes weeks after another attempt by Orange Liberia to subvert the imposition of regulatory surcharge fee yielded no result. Early this month, Orange Liberia filed a Petition for a Writ of Prohibition before Supreme Court Justice Jamesetta Howard Wollokollie challenging an order issued by the regulatory authority of the telecommunication sector here for surcharges fees.
It can be recalled that in 2018 the Liberia Telecommunication Authority (LTA) issued Order 0016-02-25-19 imposing floor prices and surcharges on one-net voice calls and data. Before issuing the Order, the LTA got all stakeholders involved and their inputs were considered.
Addressing journalists Friday about the situation surrounding the Thursday violent protest, Police spokesman Moses Carter declined to speak to the issue regarding Mr. Coulibaly’s investigation, saying the LNP is not investigating him, rather he is being investigated by the NSA.
The Orange Liberia CEO was called in by the NSA for questioning following the arrest of six persons during a violent protest here early Thursday morning, 25 June near the Nigerian House in Congo Town. The protest was said to have been staged by members of the Council of Patriots (CoP), which led two successive demonstrations here against the Weah led – government.
It is not yet clear how the GSM Company’s Chief Executive Officer has come to be linked to the protest, but police said last week that there have been speculation that the company has sponsored most of the violent protests here. But the head of CoP, Henry Costa recently told journalists here via a video news conference that his group was poised to stage a demonstration against the government over the surcharge imposed on GSM companies here.
Meanwhile the LNP warns that it will do nothing to compromise the fight aimed at consolidating the peace and stability of the country, emphasizing that anyone that is bent on causing chaos for the country will be dealt with in line with the rule of law.
“Of late, we have exercise a huge level of tolerance in dealing with public order violators, but some see this as weakness on our part. We are using this medium to warn all those desirous of holding special events ranging from protest and other public gatherings to follow these protocols mentioned herein,” says Carter.
Earlier on 25 June, he said the Orange Liberia executive was being questioned on grounds that the Orange Family has been having contacts with the protesters prior to the incident. According to Carter, it’s left with them to disprove what police have been hearing about their connection with the protesters, adding that the LNP will go for anyone involved in disturbances.
During a follow – up with Carter Sunday, 28 June, he explained that the six persons arrested during the protest are still being investigated by police, but he was not clear about when they the investigation would be concluded.
Carter says police will not name the six suspects until the investigation is concluded and finds if there is a probable cause to charge them or not. The six suspects held by police are accused of being involved in the protest which resulted in a road block at Nigerian House, preventing smooth movement of vehicles and peaceful citizens and residents here.
Upon receipt of the information about the public disturbance, Carter notes that officers of the LNP swiftly moved in, cut off the fire and created access for citizens to move freely. “The responding officers chased after the public order violators and arrested six persons in connection to the road block and tire burning incident,” he says. “Those arrested are undergoing investigation at the headquarters of the Liberia National Police. They will be duly charged and forwarded to court subsequently,” he continues.
Carter indicates that the protesters took to the street to protest against the government’s decision to enforce a surcharge imposed on the GSM companies here for voice calls and data.
According to Carter, the police engaged the protesters, informing them that their action was counterproductive to the pace and security of the country.
However, he says the protesters who claimed they represented pressure group Council of Patriots (COP) went ahead to set roadblocks, set car tires alight and prevented the free movement of peaceful citizens, strictly acting against the peace and security of the country. He warns that police will go for whoever that is connected to this protest.