(Ecofin Agency) - Ivan Brown (pictured) was suspended as the head of Liberia’s telecoms regulator (LTA) following accusations of wrongdoing. The decision was announced on June 5 by President George Weah and Edwina Zarka was immediately appointed to act as MD in the meantime.
The suspension of Ivan Brown comes at a time when the telecoms regulator is engaged in an intense battle with mobile phone operator Orange over the payment of the surcharge imposed on voice calls and data. In November 2019, Liberia Telecom Authority introduced a minimum price of $0.0156 per minute for voice calls and 0.00218 per megabyte for data services. The regulator has also set a surcharge of $0.008 on voice calls and $0.0065 per megabyte for data.
Orange opposed this surcharge before the court, claiming that such a decision does not fall within the regulator’s remit, according to a law passed by the legislature and published on 29 August 2017, despite the regulator's authority to issue regulations in the exercise of its power. Orange Liberia says this is the prerogative of the Liberia Revenue Authority (LRA).
On 1 June 2020, the plenary chamber of the Supreme Court suspended the levying of the tax by the LTA until further notice.