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Digicel Grenada to conduct internal probe

Thursday, July 18, 2019

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ST GEORGE'S, Grenada (CMC) — Digicel, the telecommunications service provider, which has an arrangement with the Government of Grenada to service all of its telecommunications needs, yesterday announced plans for an internal investigation into how the bill of a former public official came into the possession of a radio talk show host.

“We are aware of allegations being made by a local radio personality with regard to Digicel's handling of customer information,” Digicel said in a statement.

“Our responsibility to our customers and to protecting their personal data is of paramount importance to us. And, as a customer champion and good corporate citizen, we take instances of this nature very seriously. As such, we have moved swiftly to undertake an internal investigation to establish the facts in this matter,” the statement by the Irish-owned telecommunications service provider added.

It has promised to update the public “as appropriate” on the investigations, adding “it's also important to point out that, if appropriate, we will not hesitate to make use of any and all legal avenues open to us to defend our good reputation and that of our employees”.

Last week, an Opposition political activist and talk show host told radio listeners that he is in possession of documents proving that the Government had paid the telephone bills for former public officers, including two former legislators.

The Integrity Commission has hinted at the possibility of conducting an investigation into allegations that some former legislators were still using government-funded mobile phones after reports surfaced of an EC$70,000 (One EC dollar=US$0.37 cents) bill.

“Following reports circulating about the use of government telephone accounts by public officials, the commission has written to the relevant government authorities to ascertain the veracity of such reports,” the commission said in a statement.

“As Grenada holistically implements its anti-corruption, risk, fiscal, and procurement management systems, the Integrity Commission reminds all public sector managers of their responsibilities to strengthen and implement internal controls over public expenditure for greater accountability, transparency, and value for money,” said the commission.

Last week, Prime Minister Dr Keith Mitchell said he was embarrassed to learn of the situation and accepted the fact that former parliamentarians who Government had assigned telephone numbers have been using the phones without making the necessary transfer for invoice payment to their names.

The main Opposition, the National Democratic Congress, has called on the Integrity Commission, the Financial Intelligence Unit, and the Royal Grenada Police Force “to take the necessary actions to stop this theft from the Grenadian people”.

Press Secretary Philomena Robertson, speaking to reporters during Tuesday's post-Cabinet meeting, said former public officials still benefiting from the telephone programme would have to repay the funds.

The statement from Digicel comes after the radio host informed his listeners on Tuesday night that he had earlier walked into the Digicel office and obtained three years of invoices in the name of one of the former public officers who used the government-assigned phone.

One of the cellphone holders was a member of the Upper House from 2013 to 2016, while another served in the Lower House from 2013 to 2018. One of the bills was for an estimated EC$8,000, while the other was for approximately EC$70,000 for the period April, May, and June 2019.


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