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Comium owes PURA D69.1M

Sep 20, 2021, 2:22 PM | Article By: Fatou Dem

The Public Utilities and Regulatory Authority (PURA) on Friday 17 September 2021 confirmed to journalists that a privately owned telecommunication company, Comium, owes the government D69.1 million. 

 

Speaking at the press convergence, Matharr Touray, a senior economist at PURA, disclosed that Comium Gambia Ltd. has not paid its licences and spectrum fees for the period of 2020 and 2021. 

The cumulative amount includes the international gateway levies that are to be paid to PURA for onwards sharing with other stakeholders and “it forms a fundamental part of their licencing conditions,” Mr Touray said.

He said these are issues that are directly within PURA’s mandate. “There are other outstanding debts that they owe to other state institutions.”

Yusupha M. Jobe, director general of PURA, said that the reasons PURA put up the notice of suspension is because Comium has not been paying their licencing fees and spectrum fees which is a regulatory requirement for any service provider.

The private telecommunication company, Comium has defaulted on their rules, payments and on ensuring that they comply with the rules and regulations per their licencing agreement, he said. Mr. Jobe said Comium was served with a notice of suspension and given up to 1st October 2021 to show cause why PURA should not suspend their operating licences. 

DG Jobe further said they issued a notice of suspension in accordance with their rules and regulations and they are advising any service provider who is defaulting and that they intend to cut their services, suspend their operation if they do not make good of what is required in accordance with their rules and regulations. 

“They have been given two weeks to regularise and correct their anomalies so that they can restore the relations,” he noted.

In accordance with PURA’s rules, he added that all providers are supposed to give information to PURA on their activities and especially on their plans of investment. “These are critical sectors on the economic and they involve a lot of people and they pay a lot of taxes to the government.”

He concluded that the notice of suspension is not something they took lightly or in haste. “We tried all other options for a long time allowing and giving extensions until we exhausted all the limits.”

In light of the suspension notice served to Comium, Emma Mendy, director of Legal Licencing and Enforcement at PURA, said PURA does not want to expose Comium’s subscribers to significant losses in the event Comium does not adhere to the terms of the suspension notice. Therefore, she said all Comium subscribers are advised to secure an alternative service provider pending the final determination of the matter.

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