The Gambia government has issued a statement on the current disruption of Gamcel billing system which for almost a week prevents subscribers from recharging their accounts, prompting apologies from the national GSM provider and speculations.
The government said after it terminated MGI’s contract from exclusively managing the Gambia’s International Gateway in July, MGI allegedly threatened to disrupt the billing platform of Gamcel unless the government makes a U-turn or pay a certain amount of money by July 31.
But the government said it will not bow to blackmail and any deliberate attempt to sabotage the national communication system of the country would be seen as a clear threat to national security.
“We will not be cowed by this cowardice action and will not subdue to any such threats and/or blackmail. We will stand firm with the decision to terminate the MGI contract and we are more resolved today than before,” said Demba Jawo, minister of Information and Communication Infrastructure.
The minster said it is important for the public to understand that the billing system was acquired on behalf of Gamcel and it is the most expensive ever for the company. “The billing platform cost millions of US dollars yet the company does not have total ownership and control over the system. This is a betrayal of trust through a scheme designed to control, blackmail and direct our decisions as a nation, while perpetuating MGI to continue the management of the telecommunication international gateway.
“Unfortunately, the agreement that should have been in the name of Gamcel was between MGI and Redknee on a build, operate, transfer (BOT) basis. Also, MGI signed another separate contract on the billing system with Gamcel for the support services. The BOT agreement of the billing platform is yet to be provided by MGI after numerous requests and could not be traced from either Gamcel or Gamtel.”
The government urged Gamcel subscribers to exercise patience, as the matter is being resolved.