Ministries, vice-president intervene in Africell regulatory dispute

29 Sep 2017

Gambia’s Minister of Information and Communication Infrastructure, Demba Jawo, has confirmed to The Point newspaper that his ministry alongside the Finance Ministry and the Gambian vice-president have intervened in a dispute between the country’s largest mobile operator by users Africell and the telecoms watchdog, the Public Utilities Regulatory Authority (PURA). The regulator had issued Africell a fine of GMD3 million (USD63,000) for alleged non-compliance with rules governing the registration of users purchasing mobile SIM cards, but Africell took the issue to court, denying that it had allowed agents to continue uncontrolled SIM card sales in breach of the PURA Act. PURA wrote to Minister Jawo recommending the suspension of Africell’s licence, but this course of action has been avoided, the minister said, following a meeting between himself, PURA, the vice-president and the finance minister. The two-month old court case has not yet been resolved, however.