Information Minister Lenn Eugene Nagbe
MICAT Clarifies The Closure Of Sarafina Ventures Inc.
By Derrick G, Menkarzon
MONROVIA, August 15 (LINA) – The Ministry of Information, Cultural Affairs and Tourism (MICAT) has explained that the closure of the Sarafina Ventures and Communications Inc. by the Civil Law Court was due to failure of the entity to pay its taxes over the years.
Appearing on a local radio talk show in Monrovia on Monday, Information Minister Lenn Eugene Nagbe disclosed that Sarafina Ventures over the years failed to regularize its status in keeping with relevant provisions of the Telecommunications Licensing Authorization Regulations.
The Telecommunication Licensing Regulations, among other things, call for radio and television outlets to pay regular annual registration fees in order to operate, something Minister Nagbe said the entity has failed to do, thereby defrauding the government of over US$50,000.
Sarafina Ventures and Communications Incorporated operates Love FM 105.1, Love TV Channel 7 and LIB 24 Radio.
The institution was closed by the Civil Law Court based upon a Petition for Preliminary Injunction growing out of a Petition for Declaratory Judgment filed by the Liberia Telecommunications Authority (LTA) through the Ministry of Justice.
The Information Minister said the closure of the entity should not be seen as an attack on free press as has been insinuated by few Liberians who are bent on politicizing everything that the government does.
Instead, he said, the closure is aimed at engaging delinquent news entities who have chosen to operate illegally, denying the nation access to essential revenue.
Nagbe is therefore urging the management of Sarafina Ventures Incorporated to utilize the legal means and provide evidence to the court to prove the LTA wrong.
Meanwhile, Nagbe has reaffirmed government's commitment to upholding the tenets of freedom of the press, but noted that the government will continue to properly regulate the media landscape of Liberia.