Windhoek High Court judge Harald Geier yesterday interdicted and restrained the Communications Regulatory Authority of Namibia (CRAN) from implementing a decision it made that Mobile Telecommunications Limited (MTC) is not in good standing with it.
CRAN further resolved that it shall not consider any application made by MTC until full settlement of all outstanding regulatory levies for the years 2017, 2018 and 2019.
The judge issued a rule nisi (a court order to come into force at a future date unless a particular condition is met), pending the outcome of a review application in due course, declaring the decision null, void and unconstitutional.
MTC claims in their court papers that CRAN, in an abuse of power and despite pending legal action, now effectively seeks to coerce MTC into paying invalid levies. It contends, in spite of a Supreme Court order that effectively made the section in which CRAN can set levies and or penalties for telecommunications providers unconstitutional, that it issued summons against MTC in the amount of almost N$100 million for levies for 2017, 2018 and 2019.
MTC approached the High Court and was granted an order, stating that the section upon which CRAN’s claim for levies was based was declared unconstitutional in 2016 already.
In the meantime, the papers read, CRAN persisted with its demand for the mentioned levies, despite the invalidity of the section.
They said CRAN resolved on 16 April 2021 to decline or refuse to consider any further applications, bids or submissions by MTC for further or additional licences, which includes tenders for spectrum, until such time the levies are paid.
MTC further says CRAN’s actions and purported decisions are severely prejudicial to them, as they, like other licence holders, require new licences constantly to conduct their operations effectively and competitively.
CRAN opposed the application and submitted that MTC failed to make out a case for the relief it seeks.
According to CRAN, MTC attacked the wrong act, which is not susceptible to review.
They said the decision of the board of CRAN that no applications shall be considered from applicants, not in good standing with CRAN is not susceptible to review and is an act that does not have a direct external legal effect on MTC.