November 1, 2018
By Patrick Jaiah Kamara
The Native Consortium & Research Centre (NCRC) and 299 other plaintiffs have filed a lawsuit against three mobile companies and the National Telecommunications Company (NATCOM) over ‘cheating and poor quality of services.’
The 300 litigants, according to Executive Director of NCRC Edmond Abu, are representative of all mobile subscribers across the country who sought to use the court to liberate poor subscribers who have allegedly been suffering in hands of the mobile companies.
The civil lawsuit, according to Abu, was filed by way of a writ of summons to bring to the notice of the court the ‘deteriorating quality of service and incalculable cheating’ that customers have been complaining about over the years, but which had been ignored by the operators.
Abu told pressmen at the Sierra Leone Association of Journalists (SLAJ) headquarters yesterday that the court action came about following numerous complaints about poor service and fruitless meetings with mobile operators to address them.
He said the NCRC has been engaging NATCOM and mobile operators with the coordination of the former NATCOM Chairman, including issuing open letters, but their efforts have so far not yielded dividend.
In addition, the consortium boss revealed that with the exception of Orange, they have secured default judgements against Africell, Sieratel and NATCOM.
He pleaded with the High Court to order the defendants to pay damages for breach of contract and neglect of statutory duties on the part of NATCOM.
“Consumers nationwide see NATCOM as too weak to protect the right of Customers/Subscribers as prescribed by section 9 (1) (2) (a) (b) (c) (k) and (p) of the Telecoms Act No. 9 of 2006, and sections 37 (a) (1) (a-b), (2) and section 36 (1) of same. We pray the court will make NATCOM to be much more robust to protect poor Consumers,” according to release he read to pressmen.
He added that they were also calling on the court to order the mobile companies to revert to and/or renegotiate previous tariff on voice calls from Le 650 to Le 410, as agreed at the Bintumani Public Dialogue Forum in March 2017.
Meanwhile, the matter is set for resumption in the High Court this Friday.