Tribunal grants Airtel-Tigo, Glo, MTN and Vodafone stay of execution against NCA fines
By Nana Appiah Acquaye, Accra, Ghana
The Electronic Communication Tribunal in Accra has unanimously granted a stay of execution against the National Communications Authority (NCA) in demanding a GH 34million fine it imposed on four Mobile Network Operators.
The three member panel tribunal chaired by former Supreme Court Judge, Justice Professor Samuel Date-Bah believed it would enable the effective hearing of the substantive matter.
“After carefully considering the evidence contained in the affidavit before this Tribunal, we have come to the conclusion that the stay of execution should be granted, and is hereby granted,” he announced.
With the injunction in place, the tribunal would now set a date for the hearing of the substantive case in which Airtel-Tigo, Glo, MTN and Vodafone are calling on the tribunal to quash the fines imposed on them by the NCA for an alleged poor quality service.
The four operators are challenging the basis for the fines which were imposed in November last year, with a December 10, 2018 deadline for payment.
Airtel-Tigo was fined GH¢11,635,000, Glo GH¢4,460,000, MTN GH¢9,080,000 and Vodafone GH¢8,890,000, but they have declined to pay because of their petition against the regulator’s action.
But the NCA insists that the four network operators were sanctioned for their non-compliance with various Quality of Service (QoS) requirements.
Earlier the NCA legal team represented by lawyer Robert Appaya had petitioned the court to overturn the stay of execution been sought for by network operators.
He had also claimed that allowing or ruling in favor of the telcos will go a long way not only to undermine the powers of the regulator but also disenfranchise many customers in the country.
But the President of the Ghana Bar Association Lawyer Anthony Forson, representing MTN Ghana and the legal litigation team from Vodafone Ghana in their respective submissions pleaded with the tribunal to grant the network providers their plea for a stay of execution to enable them gets a better understanding and a clearer picture of the action taken against them by the regulator.
In a statement released in November last year, the NCA noted that it undertook a quality of Service monitoring in the Greater Accra, Eastern, Western, Northern Regions and two districts in the Ashanti Region in the phase one of a nationwide monitoring exercise.
This exercise, according to the NCA, enabled the Authority to determine the MNOs which were unable to meet their Licence Key Performance Indicators in some district capitals.