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|LTA Commissioners to get Longer Terms||| Print ||
|Written by Henry Karmo (0886522495) email@example.com|
|Monday, 09 September 2013 20:35|
Monrovia - The Liberia National legislature has received an act from the Executive Branch of Government seeking the amendment of part III section 9(1) 9(2) and 9(3) of the 2007 telecommunications act.
The act if amended will be replaced by the insertion of new a section, which includes 10(5), 10(6), and 10(7).
The act if amended like the 2007 LTA act will give the president the power to appoint a commission consisting of five (5) commissioners, with chief executive authority vested in the chairperson , who shall oversee the operation of the LTA and in consultation with the other commissioners, shall exercise the functions and powers of the LTA. Appointment of commissioners pursuant to section 9(1) shall be subject to consent of the senate.
The act if amended will also give the president the power to designate one of the commissioners as chairperson and that person shall be appointed for a term of five (5) years rather than the previous four (4)-year tenure.
The act will also gives the president the power to appoint each of the four (4) commissioners for the term of four (4), three (3), two (2) and one (1) year.
The act further gives the president the power to appoint the chairperson and/or other commissioners for an additional term, which shall be five (5) years. No member of the commission shall serve for more than two consecutive terms.
“Due to the sensitivity of sector specific information acquired during their tenure, commissioners are further barred, for a period of two years immediately after their tenure, from engaging in any telecommunications related employment within the republic of Liberia (Restrictive Covenant), unless approved in writing by the president.
According to observers, the amendment if passed will significantly alter the decision making process currently provided for under the Telecom Act. The amendment seeks to put the decision making powers in the sole hands of the Chairperson who will become an Executive Chairperson. As Executive Chairperson, Ms. Angelique Weeks will run the LTA without having to seek the concurrence of other commissioners on her decisions which will be final. She will operate like a president, with full authority to run the LTA as she sees fit. Currently, and according to the Telecom Act, all decisions of the Board of Commissioners are made by simple majority vote along with a statement of reason for the decision. The intent of this provision was to ensure accountability in the management of the LTA and to avoid arbitrary decision making, something the proposed amendment seeks to reverse.
For his part a member of the telecommunications committee of the lower house of the Legislature Edward Kafia (NDC-District #5 Bong County) confirmed receiving the act from the Executive Branch of Government and promised that the committee is looking into the request and if the need be they will act when necessary.
The proposed amendment was greeted with shock by industry insiders who see this move as counterproductive to the system of checks and balance and the need for accountability and transparency. One insider observed, “What is the President thinking of, didn’t she read the audit report on the LTA which showed major management incompetence and violation of existing laws and regulations. This is the worst mistake the President can make, we don’t need to further centralization of power; we need decentralization instead.”
But a source at the Executive Mansion hinted that “this whole thing was concocted by Ms. Weeks and Cllr. Seward Cooper, and I bet you the President doesn’t know what is under this thing. They told her that it was a law to change the term of office of the commissioners to allow her flexibility to change them if the need arises without having to wait for four years to pass. But the woman at the LTA finish changing the whole thing around. Her first term will finish this month and so she is pushing this thing so the President will put her back and this time for more years, whole five years my brother. That these kind of people can really spoil this country. People need to talk about this thing, because those people up there, will pass anything.”