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Lesotho confirms Vodacom slapped with R8.2m penalty fee

Lesotho's communications authority said Vodacom was allocated R900,000 to connect internet to 30 schools but it failed to report progress.

Vodacom. Picture: Facebook.

JOHANNESBURG - The Lesotho Communications Authority (LCA) confirmed it slapped Vodacom with R8.2 million penalties for failing to pay regulatory fees on time and the mobile operator now has 90 days to explain why it should keep its licence.

The mountain kingdom's regulator said the mobile giant had not only failed to appoint independent auditors but had also failed to report back on connecting the internet in schools.

The dispute sparked allegations of political motives but the regulator denied this.

The LCA statement painted Vodacom as a rogue operator.

The regulator said that it raised the appointment of the board chairman's sister-in-law as auditor since 2015 but the conflict of interest was never addressed.

The communications authority said Vodacom was allocated R900,000 to connect internet to 30 schools but it failed to report progress even after some schools complained that they were not connected.

Vodacom now has three months to comply with the authority's demands or lose its licence and it said that it was doing all it could to do so on the right platforms.

However, the authority denied allegations that it was questioning how local shareholder Sekhametsi acquired its 20% stake in Vodacom.