Liberian regulators find against Lonestar and Orange

Liberian regulators find against Lonestar and Orange

Two Liberian operators have had legal problems in recent days, with both Lonestar Cell-MTN  and Orange Liberia finding themselves at the wrong end of regulatory decisions.

According to news service Front Page Africa, Liberia’s Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU) has ‘with immediate effect’ instructed Lonestar Cell-MTN to stop offering its new mobile money international remittance service.

A letter sent to the company late last week suggested that “the company lacks the capacity to detect and report incidence of money laundering and terrorist financing activities”.

The FIU suggests that the new mobile money service “could provide easy means for criminals exploiting the financial system of Liberia using the international remittance service of the Lonestar MTN Mobile Money platform to continue unobserved”.

Another ruling went against a competitor of Lonestar as Orange Liberia lost its challenge against an order dating back to February 2019 from the Liberia Telecommunication Authority (LTA), when it announced the planned introduction of floor prices on voice and data calls. Orange challenged the LTA in the Civil Law Court and then the Supreme Court.

In the wake of the 3 September ruling from Liberia’s Supreme Court against Orange Liberia, the company says it takes note of the decision and will now execute surcharges on mobile voice and data services. 

Orange has said it believes that mobile and data price increases have a negative impact on its customers, as well as its operations in Liberia, but, like its competitors, is now waiting for a date from the LTA to commence the imposition of the additional surcharges and increase the prices of voice and data services.

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