Telecommunications company Wireless Business Solutions (WBS) wants Joseph Lebooa, a councillor at the Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (Icasa) removed from investigations into outstanding licence fees and allegations of illegal use of spectrum because he is “clearly conflicted”, it says.
WBS has previously asked that Lebooa be removed from the case after he alleged he was hijacked and beaten by assailants sent by WBS in February. Lebooa claims the intention of the hijacking was to dissuade him from pursuing an investigation into the company.
Following Lebooa’s allegations WBS laid a complaint of crimen injuria against him. WBS has repeatedly denied any involvement in the incident.
“What concerns us greatly now though is that to continue to allow this person, who harbours such acrimonious feelings towards the company, and who has made such serious criminal allegations against WBS, to be in charge of reaching a settlement with us shows a serious discord of action,” the company says in a statement. “The regulator cannot be acting in good faith or be predisposed to a fair settlement between us through such a conflicted negotiator.
“How does this individual, who has claimed to have been beaten up by criminals sent by WBS, be expected to act objectively when dealing with that same company? Whichever way you look at it, he is just too conflicted.”
According to WBS, the application by Icasa to the high court for a search-and-seizure warrant against the company was sanctioned by Lebooa “without endorsement by the rest of the council and despite the ongoing discussions between the parties”, which it says shows he was “acting in bad faith and waging a campaign to hurt WBS’s business”.
“Our main goal is to reach a fair settlement. We want to pay Icasa what is due to them and have no wish to be used as a scapegoat either as a result of a personal vendetta that he may have, or of internal squabbles and faction fighting that may be occurring within the regulator.”
WBS says it is concerned about “repeated utterances” by Icasa that it wishes to make an example of the company in its efforts to get spectrum licence holders to pay outstanding fees. It says there are other entities that owe more money.
“We wonder if there really is a will on the part of the regulator to reach a settlement with us, and urge that if indeed there is, they should proceed to appoint someone who can carry out the task promptly, expediently, and without prejudice.”
It says, too, that Lebooa’s statement to police following his hijacking — TechCentral has a copy — is “completely at odds with the contentions he made in various media reports about the matter”.
“When reading his statement and comparing it with his references to the incident in the media, it is clear that a huge amount of embellishment and false accusation has made its way into his accounts of the incident between the time of its occurrence to date.”
Lebooa could not immediately be reached for comment. — (c) 2013 NewsCentral Media