Information reaching The Fatu Network has it that The Gambia Telecommunication Company (GAMTEL) is facing serious financial leakages at the International Gateway due to rampant fraud calls happening within and outside the country.
According to reliable sources, the International Gateway is compromised due to the lack of adequate equipment to curtail fraud calls. It is said that the Company is currently using a Huawei Switch, which is a local platform that cannot fully monitor certain international calls as it lacks required sophisticated gadgets.
“It is not sophisticated like Alcatel and Tata,” a GAMTEL source said.
“A lot of fraud calls are diverting the Switch causing revenue loss to the nation,” he added.
It is alleged that a Telecom Company known as Liquid Solutions partnering with a Gambian Businessman is at the centre of the controversy as it took over the International Gateway from the MGI Company. Some senior government officials are accused of having connections with this company.
Sources within GAMTEL further raised concerns about the possibility of handing over the Company’s Fibre Backbone to the Public Utility Regulatory Authority (PURA) to share with Private GSM Operators.
“This is where GAMTEL is making money,” a source said.
At the reception of the ACE Building, this reporter saw the MOICI Permanent Secretary and QCell Proprietor among others coming from a meeting.
Kebba Bojang, Director responsible for the International Gateway confirmed the fraud calls but said it is a global phenomenon.
“It is not only a Gambian problem,” Director Bojang said.
Bojang, explained that the culprits are using Sim Cards of different operators in a particular cell phone or boxes known as a sim box that could take about hundred sim cards to facilitate calls from outside the country. The international calls are then directed to sim boxes to connect the calls with local numbers.
“Unfortunately, we do not have adequate equipment to curtail the fraud after MGI left,” he added.
He calls on the government to invest on the International Gateway by putting on the right equipment.
“If the government feels they are losing lot of revenues then they need to invest on the right equipment,” Bojang stated.
“We have never benefitted from the Gateway,” he noted.
Mr Bojang said fraud has increasingly become a major challenge in the new dispensation which was not the case under dictatorship when security would crackdown on suspects and take them to court.
“We will compromise our national security if the company falls in the hands of foreigners.”
Bojang told The Fatu Network that he was not aware of the alleged proposals to share the Fibre Backbone with Private GSM Operators.
“If that happens it will be very disappointing.”
He argued that GAMTEL should be a resource generating institution for the country provided that the new government is willing to invest.
Meanwhile, reports of growing anger and dissatisfaction amongst the staff of GAMTEL/Gamcel on the suspension of the Company’s Managing Director by the Office of the President (OP) is filtering out. There are reports of possible sit down strikes.
“There are people at State House who are misleading the Presidency,” a source told The Fatu Network.
The disgruntled staffs are calling for the immediate reinstatement of the Managing Director.
Mr Susso, Managing Director of GAMTEL was suspended based on directives from the Office of the President in relations to an alleged ‘investigation’ launched on the MGI Company. But, it is said that the suspension is a witch hunt.