By Unissa Bangura

It was mind-boggling when some members of staff of the National Telecommunication Commission (NATCOM) learnt how corruption and fraudulent operation of the institution has turned it to a free-for- all that is characterized by financial wastefulness and disrespect for financial discipline. The National Telecommunications Commission (NATCOM) is the Country’s Regulatory Body Established by an Act of Parliament. When news broke out about the level of corrupt practice engaged by some members of the top management cadre, some junior and mid-level employees were thrown into panic, shocks and surprises as they least expected that such ugliness to take control of the upper class, especially a system that was perceived as well structured and the necessary mechanisms put in place.

At NATCOM, Complaint about a simple radio signal interference cannot be immediately addressed, either because such Complaint bears no financial incentive or due to laizzer faire attitude on the part of those that are expected to address issues of such nature when they arise. Reports however alleged that most of the employees under the current management are dissatisfied; seeing the depth of corrupt practices that those who should work in the interest of the State and the people have been engaged in for selfish purpose. Unfortunately the NATCOM is managed by Dr. Thomas Robert Obaleh as Chairman of the Board of Directors and Mr. Mohammed Bangura as head of Management. These two individuals have been accused by many Sierra Leoneans of having questionable characters. Whether that is true or will have to be proven by them.

Director General Mohammed Bangura and Chairman Tom Obaleh Kargbo….to explain, why the spending spree

Director General Mohammed Bangura and Chairman Tom Obaleh Kargbo….to explain, why the spending spree

NATCOM under the managerial supervision of Mr. Mohamed Bangura as Director General and Chairman, Dr Thomas Robert Obaleh Kargbo is unarguably very extravagant and since their legitimate entrance into the establishment, the institution under their management skills and supervision had been engaged in financial indiscipline and funds manipulation with gross impunity.

Several pieces of evidence to prove their lack of financial discipline abound. Prior to the legitimate entrance of the current Chairman of NATCOM, Dr. Thomas Robert Obaleh Kargbo, the Management team under a dubious arrangement agreed in one of their usual meetings to fraudulently divert money by way of extending loyalty to both past and present Commissioners of the Commission regardless of their prescribed mandates.

According to reports, the Management conceived ideas, described by many as non-progressive, but implemented to the Commission and agreed to withdraw huge money from the Bank Account of NATCOM to furnish offices in the private homes of past and present Commissioners under the flimsy excuse that if a Commissioner is unable to attend meetings at the NATCOM Headquarters, Hill Station the absented Commissioner can stay at home and do other work either privately or otherwise.

It was stated that Management of NATCOM in its pursuit to extravagantly waste funds under the pretext of paying loyalty to past and present Commissioners  and furnishing their home offices have parted away with billions of Leones for the purchase of expensive  furniture and paying private Contractors to do the work of Commissioners in their homes. Money running into Millions of Leones was also used to furnish the home office of the current Chairman, Dr. Thomas Robert Obaleh Kargbo, who joined the wagon not too late and buttressed the wasteful spending of the Commission’s resources. Those Commissioners whose tenure has ended are reportedly beneficiaries of the unhealthy and wasteful spending exercise

Funds used in setting up home offices at the private residence of most of the Commissioners had been pegged between Two Hundred and Two Hundred and Fifty Million Leones (Le200 – Le 250 Million). This does not include money used to establish and refurbish the Chairman’s office at his private residence and the total amount of funds used in setting up the home offices of all the Commissioners.

In his comment, the Director General of NATCOM Mr. Mohamed Bangura said on the telephone that the sum of Seventy Million Leones was not spent for both the establishment and refurbishment of the home office of the Chairman, but refused to quote what was scooped from the NATCOM coffer to do the work and also for those past and present Commissioners.

It is becoming a debate as to whether the Commission that was created by an Act of Parliament sought the approval of Parliament prior to meddling with the resources of NATCOM under such dubious and unproductive arrangement or just the corruption fever that sent them drunk and left them with no patriotic conscience (See next edition- Le500 million paid for land. It is for NATCOM or its Chairman?)

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