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LCA staffers hold shares in Vodacom – report

The Minister of Communications Science and Technology Keketso Sello


April 2, 2021 3 min read

3 min read


A group of Lesotho Communications Authority (LCA) staffers is under fire and faces disciplinary action after the authority discovered, through an ongoing probe that it holds shares in the leading telecommunication company, Vodacom Lesotho.

The 11 staff members some of whom are in critical management positions have been found to have a stake in the company that has been at loggerheads with the LCA since last year.

Although the findings of the probe are limited to current employees, it is vital to note that several former executive employees of the authority whose employment ended in the last 36 months had and still have an indirect interest in one of the major licensees based on company registry records.

Vodacom Lesotho has been accused of deliberate non-compliance, dishonesty and lack of remorse towards the laws of the LCA, a resolution which prompted the authority to slap the telecommunication giant with a whooping M134 million in penalties.  

Thirty percent of the penalty was payable immediately, with the remaining 70 percent suspended for five years provided, Vodacom does not commit any further contraventions of its regulatory obligations during the said period.

In the event that the company fails to comply, the LCA will proceed to revoke its unified license.

Vodacom, according to LCA had among other things failed to pay its regulatory fees when they fell due and payable on or by June 30 2019 and has further shown no remorse for deliberately appointing a relative of the chairman as its external auditor.

The company has however, since challenged the matter in court and the case still pends in the High Court.

On Tuesday, the LCA, through the Minister of Communications Science and Technology Keketso Sello revealed that 31 percent of its employees are shareholders in Vodacom Lesotho.


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“On September 8, 2020, when LCA was presenting the key regulatory developments to the cabinet chaired by the Prime Minister, the authority was advised by the PM that to enhance effectiveness of regulation, it should lead by example and ensure that it is in compliance with the laws of Lesotho.

“Within my 100 days in office, I directed the authority to conduct an employee declaration of interest to ensure that the authority and its employees remain independent, impartial and have no conflict of interest in their dealings with licensees,” Mr Sello said.

The declaration of interest by employees was guided by Section 28 of the Prevention of Corruption and Economic Offences Act, 1999.

The assessment reveals that it would be challenging for the authority to achieve its mandate and objectives of consumer protection, education, efficient allocation of finite resources and effective management of competition due to key personnel being conflicted.

“Necessary measures are being taken to address the situation based on the severity of the harm to the authority and the public interest. These people should have declared from the beginning in order to avoid unfair competition. At the moment we are not in a position to reveal what is going to happen to them because further investigations are still ongoing,” the minister added.

 

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