AMA fights tiGO over business operating permit


    The dispute between the Accra Metropolitan Assembly (AMA) and telecommunications giant, Milicom Ghana Limited, operators of tiGO, over the payment of the company’s outstanding business operating permit (BOP) levy is far from over, as the AMA has threatened legal action against Milicom.
    The Public Relations Officer of the AMA, Mr Numo Blafo III, told the Daily Graphic that the AMA would take the telecoms operator to court to compel it to settle its GH¢194,000 BOP indebtedness to the assembly.
    He, however, added that the day of the court action was yet to be decided by the assembly.
    Milicom Ghana, until last Thursday, owed GH¢294,000 as BOP levy to the AMA.
    As a result, an AMA revenue collection team locked up the company’s head office in Accra in an attempt to recoup the said levy.
    The locking up of Milicom’s offices resulted in a scuffle between the two entities.
    The scuffle later led to the arrest of one of Milicom’s security workers who was subsequently put before the Accra Community Centre Court, convicted and sentenced to, six months’ imprisonment for obstructing a public officer from carrying out his normal duties.
    Consequent to that, Mr Blafo III said Milicom last Friday paid GH¢ I00,000 of its debt owed to the AMA.
    The company has, in the meantime, secured an interlocutory injunction from a circuit court in Accra against the AMA, barring the assembly or its agents from entering, locking up or otherwise interfering with Milicom’s operations.
    Narrating the events leading up to the AMA storming the Milicom head office last Thursday, the PRO said the AMA had, on December 10, 20I0, written to Milicom, reminding it of its indebtedness and further gave it up to December 22, 2010 to settle its arrears.
    “But the company did not comply, forcing us to go there on December 23, 2010 to retrieve our money, only to be treated that way,” he said.
    According to him, the company’s action towards the AMA revenue collection team was rude.
    “The attitude by the Milicom management was very rude. They even ordered us out of their premises and further called for a reinforcement of their security team. We also called in the police, which then led to the arrest of one of the Milicom security workers,” Mr Blafo said.
    The AMA, he said, had, on separate occasions, locked up the offices of Ghana Post and then attempted to do same to the Ghana Bar Association, except that the association quickly issued cheques to defray its indebtedness.
    He wondered why Milicom reopened the locked up offices and further engaged the AMA team in a scuffle when it attempted to re-Iock the place, asking, “Is Milicom or tiGO bigger than Ghana Post?”
    The penalty for breaking up and destroying the AMA’s padlocks, according to Mr Blafo, was 10 times the original cost of the equipment used in locking up the place.
    “Milicom destroyed nine of our padlocks, six chains and one heavy duty chain. This means that it will pay I0 times the price of each of those items,” the PRO said.
    The management of Milicom Ghana Limited would not comment on the matter, saying, “the company has no comment on the mattter.”
    According to a front desk officer at the Milicom head office in Accra, known only as Belinda, she had been instructed to tell anybody seeking management’s view on the matter that “tiGO has no comment on the matter”.
    The PRO’s office line was also not answered, despite several calls to get him to comment.