NATCOM withholds benefit of 52 workers

Benefits of 52 workers sacked in 2018/2019 and 2020 have still not been paid by the National Telecommunications Commission (NATCOM), so The Times SL Newspaper was reliably informed.

It is understood that since the SLPP Government came to power in 2018, quite a good number of people, suspected to be members of the opposition All People’s Congress, were either sacked or demoted. The SLPP government embarked on operations “sweep APC Members”, which saw many workers in government departments losing their jobs for being perceived as being sympathiser or supporter of the previous APC Government. This was also exhibited at the National Telecommunications Commission, where some fifty two workers were sacked between 2018 and 2020. It is understood that since those workers were sacked, NATCOM only effected payment of 25% of benefits to those sacked in 2019, whilst those sacked in 2020 are yet to receive a dime.

NATCOM’s administration is said to have stated that the delay for that was because of unavailability of funds, but our investigation has revealed that bonuses have been paid to the current workforce and that the commission has been spending monies on areas not under their purview. Very recently, NATCOM spent over four hundred million Leones on sensitization on property tax payment in Bo, an area which is the responsibility of the Bo city /district council. It appears as if the current administration is not willing to pay benefits to those workers it had sacked in 2018/2019 and 2020.

Director General, Daniel Kaitibi, it is understood, has been turning a blind eye to the issue, on the grounds of unavailability of funds.

Speaking on behalf of the Public Affairs Department at NATCOM, Kobba told Times SL Newspaper that the benefits of those 52 sacked workers was serious and the management is aware about it. He advised that a special meeting be held on Monday 24TH May to get the side of NATCOM on the issue. On Monday, 24th May 2021, Times SL tried to contact Kobba, but his line was unreachable. On Tuesday 25th May 2021, The Times SL Editor, Alim Jalloh, also made frantic efforts to reach both Kobba and Ben Foday to get the side of the commission, but both did not pick their calls.

Added to that, the Times SL Editor, Alim Jalloh, also sent a text message to Koba after his visit at NATCOM office on Monday, in a bid to get the side of the commission, but that also proved futile. The message and exchange of message is therefore published verbatim between Alim Jalloh and Koba of NATCOM.

‘‘Good Afternoon Mr. Kobba, Am Alim Jalloh, working for the Times SL Newspaper. I was trying to reach you since yesterday in connection to our last week discussion, regarding the payment of the 52 former employees of NATCOM, as to why their end of service benefits have not been paid until now.

I was at your office yesterday, but they denied me access to see you, I tried calling your number several times, but u didn’t pick. I am working for tomorrow’s publication now.

Responses by Koba and Ben Foday to the enquiry messages sent by Alim Jalloh:

Koba in his response said; and it reads thus..’’Hi alloh: … please note that I’m not in charge of benefits payment.

Jalloh: Have just called your line but could not get you…

One of the Directors at NATCOM, Ben Foday, on receiving the message from Alim, responded, and his response is also published verbatim in relation to the issue at hand.

‘‘I did not have any missed call from your line yesterday or even be 4 that…..

At any rate, Finance is actively seized on the concern you are raising here…and they are up to speed with it…’’

Therefore, Times SL is willing and ready to publish the side of NATCOM in our next edition.

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