For The Cancellation Of ‘Three Days Free’ Calls, House Invites LoneStar-MTN And Others

By: Eldred Wlemongar Thomas

UREYThe House of Representatives has taken a decision to invite and the Management of Lone Star Cell MTN Corporation, Board of the Liberia Telecommunication Authority, and the Liberia Revenue Authority over public reactions for the cancellation of its three day free calls promotion.

The House later agreed to also invite the political leader of the All Liberian Party (ALP) Benoni Urey who is also the Chairman of the Board of Directors of Lone Star Cell alongside his management to provide reasons for the action on the part of the Communication entity.

Lone Star recently in one of its SMS messages to subscribers, said it was making some adjustments in its promotions due to the latest tax imposed by the Liberian Government.

The GSM Company along with its Board Chairman Benoni Urey and the Liberia Telecommunication were cited on Tuesday to state reasons why some officials of the company allegedly lied under oath during public hearings on the New Tax Amendment Laws of Liberia.

This comes after a concern flagged by Montserrado County Representative Acarous Gray in a chat with Legislative reporters recalled that officials of Lone Star Cell during public hearings on the tax amendment law, informed members of the House that the U.S. one cent taxation would not affect the ordinary Liberians.

He pointed out that those officials also promised to continue their three-day free call promotion in the midst of the tax increment on GSM calls.

The Montserrado county lawmaker noted that the move taken by some authorities of the company runs contrary to their earlier statement of promise provided to the House and the Liberian people something that resulted to the passage of the amended tax law, amounts to perjury.

“This latest action indicates that LoneStar Cell lied under oath noting, government, mainly the Legislature acted upon what they were told by the officials the Communication Service Provider during the public hearings.

It can be recalled Representatives Gray, Bhofal Chambers, Bill Twehway, Moses Kollie and Munah Pelhm-Youngblood voted against additional taxes on domestic calls when it was being debated at the lower House.

On Sunday, January 15, 2017, a month after the lawmakers amended the tax code, the Company in a text message to its customers stated: “Dear Valued Subscriber, in line with the Government’s Excise tax on Domestic Voice call, effective 15 January, we have made adjustments to our promotional to our promotional packages”.

The GSM company’s announcement came after an LTA communication addressed to GSM companies operating in Liberia, informing them of the coming into effect Section 1165 of the Amended Revenue Code which was recently passed by an act of legislation, signed into law and subsequently printed into handbills.

A day after the announcement by LoneStarCell/MTN that it was readjusting its three days promotion, several subscribers converged before the company’s sub office on Broad Street mandating that the continuation of the three free call promotion.

According to our reporter, some of the aggrieved Lone star subscribers requesting that company return their units that were taken, while at the same time accusing the company of allegedly extorting money from them.

“Are you tired of stealing from your subscribers? Restored our three day promotion; give back our credits, they lamented.”

Meanwhile, a motion for the ALP political leader to appear along with his Management Team as well as the Board of the Liberia Telecommunication Authority, and the Liberia Revenue Authority before the House Plenary this Thursday January 19, 2017 was filed by Grand Bassa County Representative Gabriel Smith.

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About Cholo Brooks 13141 Articles
Joel Cholo Brooks is a Liberian journalist who previously worked for several international news outlets including the BBC African Service. He is the CEO of the Global News Network which publishes two local weeklies, The Star and The GNN-Liberia Newspapers. He is a member of the Press Union Of Liberia (PUL) since 1986, and several other international organizations of journalists, and is currently contributing to the South Africa Broadcasting Corporation as Liberia Correspondent.