By Alpha Kamara in Washington DC
Head of the native consortium, a civil society organization suing telecommunication companies over poor services has been arrested. Edmund Abu was arrested outside the law court in Freetown as the verdict was about to be delivered in court on a matter that has attracted millions of citizens.
Abu is suing the two leading mobile companies in Sierra Leone-Orange and Africell over alleged poor treatment of customers and high mobile tariffs. The suit also roped in the government’s national telecommunications commission (NATCOM) for being ineffective in monitoring operations of these mobile companies as demanded by law.
“Abu was standing outside the law court waiting to enter the court room to hear the verdict when he was approached by police officers with an arrest warrant for him. The warrant said he will be questioned for contempt of court,” an eyewitness said.
In the past, the companies were fined millions of US dollars by NATCOM for poor services and other telecommunication related lapses.
In the past few days, Abu has been on various radio stations sensitizing the public on the issue and called on citizens who have been affected by the activities of these mobile companies to show solidarity with his course. Those utterances are the ones being interpreted as contempt of court by the law, says a person who is familiar with the case.
This matter has been in court for over five years as consumers continue to struggle with higher tariffs levied by these telecommunication companies.