Mali: Court of Appeal upholds $284.2 million fine in voicemail billing case

Friday, 17 March 2023 04:33
Mali: Court of Appeal upholds $284.2 million fine in voicemail billing case

(Ecofin Agency) - Since 2021, telecom operators Moov Africa and Orange have taken several initiatives and actions to overturn a decision by the Bamako Court of Appeal condemning them to pay heavy fines.  The actions notably led to a strike in February 2022. 

Telecom operators Moov Africa Malitel and Orange Mali must pay CFAF176 billion ($284.2 million) to the Malian telecom consumers’ association RECOTEM. The two telecom operators are accused of having billed their customers for calls that went to voicemails. The decision, initially handed down in 2021, was confirmed by the Supreme Court of Mali on Monday 13 March 2023.

According to the verdict, Moov Africa Malitel will have to pay CFAF 56.5 billion to RECOTEM while Orange Mali will pay CFAF 115.3 billion. The two operators will also have to pay CFAF 1.5 billion to the consumer rights association as damages.

 RECOTEM is seeking justice in the case dubbed “ facturation du répondeur” (voicemail billing) since 2012. The case was initially dismissed by the court with the  Malian telecom regulator AMRTP deeming the practice legal and complied with the principle of tariff freedom provided for by enforceable regulations. 

The association finally won its case in November 2021, before the Bamako Court of Appeal. Since then, the local telecom operators’ union has taken action to overturn the “unfair” court decision condemning the country's two main mobile operators. The actions included sit-ins, strike action, negotiations with the authorities, and an appeal to the Supreme Court.

Adama Traoré, president of RECOTEM said he was satisfied with the decision. He also indicated that the fines would be invested in development projects to create jobs for the youth and women, contributing to the fight against illegal immigration and reducing the harm caused by illegal gold mining.

Isaac K. Kassouwi



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ECOFIN AGENCY offers a selection of articles translated from AGENCE ECOFIN. Founded in 2011, Agence Ecofin is a leader in Francophone Pan-African economic news, particularly in West and Central Africa. The agency publishes daily news on nine African economic sectors: Public Management, Finance, ICT, Agribusiness, Energy, Mining, Transport & Logistics, Communication, and Training.

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