By Staff Writers

Maseru, Oct 08 (The Night’s Watch) – Lesotho communications Authority (LCA) has cancelled Vodacom Lesotho licence, the authority announced on Thursday.

The LCA is a statutory body, established in June 2000, with the mandate of
regulating the communications sector in Lesotho.

Its mandate entails: granting licences to operators; promoting fair competition; approving tariffs; empowering and protecting consumers, among others.

“Notice is hereby given of the revocation of the Unified License of Vodacom Lesotho Pty Ltd in accordance with section 47(1)(e) of the communications Act, 2012 read with conditions 7(c) and 8 of the terms of License for failure to comply with the directive to pay a penalty of M40 200 000 by October 7, 2020,” LCA said in a statement.

It said this notice was published in accordance with condition 8 of the unified licence.

Vodacom was fined a staggering M134 million for allegedly violating license regulations last week. The fine was imposed by LCA, citing a battery of transgressions it said Vodacom violated since 2016.

In a September 28 letter to Vodacom, LCA Chief Executive Officer (CEO), ‘Mamarame Matela, instructed the company to immediately pay M40.2 million or 30 percent of the fine.

Matela however said the other M93.8 million (70 percent) of the fine was suspended for five years on condition that Vodacom “does not commit any further contraventions during the said period”.

In February this year, The Night’s Watch reported that a high-level campaign was under way within the government to persecute and discredit Vodacom and get rid of it using its alleged non-compliance with the telecommunications regulations as an excuse.

This publication’s sources said the campaign to oust Vodacom which employs about 390 people, was being led by the Ministry of Communications, Science and Technology and the LCA.

This was denied by both the ministry and LCA.

Vodacom issued a statement on Wednesday trying to allay its clients’ fears.

“Vodacom Lesotho wishes to assure all its M-Pesa customers that their funds remain safe in their M-Pesa accounts,” it said.

It indicated that recent reports of a heavy fine imposed on it will not affect any transactions and savings on its M-Pesa service as M-Pesa is a financial service regulated by the Central Bank of Lesotho.

“The bank has not raised any concerns regarding safety and security of the M-Pesa service,” it concluded. NW

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