My previous post about Muna Njiem’s bid for ITU Secretary General has generated a little bit of a debate about her role in the sale of Jordanian mobile operator Umniah. As a result of some of that discussion, her election team left a comment on this blog today linking to an official response from her about her role in the sale. For those interested, here is the link to the official response. Her closing comment is here as one quick highlight:
Can’t comment on the "resale"; as it took place after my tenure with TRC, as I left to concentrate on my campaign for ITU SecGen.
To read more about the controversy unleashed last July over the sale, make sure to check out Khalaf’s detailed post .
Khalaf, who left a note on Njiem’s site about Umniah, has also just posted regarding her response. Although he regards the reply as "really the official line, which states that the opening of the communications market is better for the consumer," he does close out by wishing her luck and thanking her for "the professional response to the voices of the blogosphere." Khalaf’s full post is available here.
UPDATE: Muna Nejem left a follow-up comment on Khalaf’s post, saying: "I want to thank all of you for taking the time to visit my site and for the show of support. The Umniah licensing is exactly what I stated; clean, pure and simple. It was done by transparent "due process" and with the approval of Council of ministers at every step. I am at your disposal, at a later stage, to hold a meeting w/all who are interested from you to explain things in the minutest details. I thank you again, and promise all of you that I never compromise on honesty and honor, and I set extremely high standards for honesty and honor for myself. God, the Almighty, is always watching every small deed we do.
You are the future, and I believe in you. I lead by example and pray to God, and with your support that together we will do our utmost to serve humanity at large, to the best of our capabilities."
Dear all, Why to think of the umniah sale While I can see only that he Jordan economy got huge benefits also
1- the price of the license
2- 4% to the student fund
3- 10% of revenue to the treasury
When Batelco bough Umniah it increased the market value of the company, which make the 4% for the student fund worth more and more. Also since umniah came to the market, Umniah prices is competitive to the other companies, also the prices of the other companies decreased since Umniah in the market, new offers, and new services also
Something tells me John that you are out of your depth on this issue. The points made here by me are not to suggest some dark conspiracy. I made mention of conspiracy theorists for precisely the reason you fly off the handle: they are out there and if individuals in positions such as Ms. Njiem don’t go out of their way to shut down some of the avenues they travel, the rumors and the doubt will come to harm them, derailing candidacies and the like. Planting doubt is all that is needed. So my suggestion here was that it’s a pretty good idea for a candidate for anything to take a moment, step up and make it clear where they stand on something like this. Hopefully she will.
My take on the development of Jordan’s IT sector, particularly the mobile end of it, is that Ms. Njiem has much to be proud of; I don’t suspect her one bit. But she needs to make her response more clear to allay the conspiracy as much as possible. And that comes back to the real point here. The issue here is not one of conspiracy but simply rumors of fraud or embezzlement. And if you don’t think such issues are common or relevant in the developing world John, you are dreaming.
Hashmi Hashmi and the informer ….
People like you, people who believe that everything is a conspiracy theory, just make me sick, what answer makes u comfortable ?
Scenario 1: YES she took a 1 million dollar bribe from Umniah, and she got a 10 % cut of the Umniah sale, and she is hiding it in her Swiss bank account!
Scenario 2: She is a part of a bigger â€œAmericanâ€ â€œcapitalismâ€ conspiracy to bring down the Arab and the Muslim nation, and buy having a third Mobile Company she is tearing down the Arab unity!
People like you are dreaming of the day 100 years from now, when Her grand grand grand son goes to the swiss bank and cash out the 10 million, so U can stand and say â€œI TOLD U SO 100 years agoâ€ .. please keep on dreaming â€¦ !
How can this reply be remotely considered an answer???
The team of whoevers go on a 500-word Q&A session that does not answer anything and we are supposed to be doing backflips because (H.E. “ka inno nagissna bass alqabb”) was kind enough to let some schmuck write an unrrelated blabbering reply about the history of the communications sector!!
Q: we think you are a corrupt authority figure who is a part of a conspiracy and fraud, what do you have to say?
A: The communication sector can use the competition!!!
Exactly. It seems like she side steps that question with all the discussion about how different deals in different countries are structured differently. Sure they are. But the real issue is was there some sort of insider deal going on here. She’s stepping out of the fray by saying it was after her time, but it’d be good for her to at least weigh in and say that if such activity did occur it goes against everything she was about while in office to make it clear that she wouldn’t have played any role in this. After all, she did help in the initial structuring of the deal. If in the end it appears a private sector party benefited greatly, you’d just need to follow the bread crumbs to find out how they managed to get such a deal.
I tell you, this has great relevance to what the ITU does. These guys decide who gets to orbit where, among other things. The profit that access provides is unbelievable. And the private-public contact within the ITU has always been part of the great globalization conspiracy — if big companies control the skies, the little guys don’t get a chance. If Muna can step up and make clear that she’d not be the type of leader that would put private over public by calling Umniah what it really seems to be, many people interested in this issue would rest a bit easier.
Natasha: I would like to point out that I agree with the premise that more competition is better for the consumer. I said that in July, and I haven’t changed my mind. The issues on peoples mind revolve over how much was paid for the license and the amount of profit made by the investors. In essence, did the government get a fair deal, as it asserts, or is the profit made by the investors indicative of a scam?