The Minister of Communications, Dr Edward Omane-Boamah, has tasked the Criminal Investigations Department (CID) of the Ghana Police Service to broaden its investigations to cover the telecom operators in the country.
That is in the quest to find a lasting solution to the Subscriber Identification Module (SIM) box fraud in the country and unravel the level of complicity or otherwise of telecom operators, in what is gradually becoming a major source of revenue leakage to the government as far as international call traffic is concerned.
Much as we are aware that the telcos also lose some money whenever there is a SIM Box fraud, we also have to know their level of complicity because we cannot understand why one person or a few people are able to register and activate so many SIM cards at a go without detection, Dr Omane-Boamah said at a news conference in Accra at the weekend.
He also called for inter-sectorial collaboration to track down the culprits involved in the practice, which denies the state several millions of Ghana cedis per annum.
Dr Omane Boamah said the CID could also use the suspects they arrest to trace the main culprits he described as gurus behind the fraud.
SIM Box fraud
SIM Box fraud is a system by which some unscrupulous persons re-route international calls coming to Ghana through boxes in which they have inserted local SIM cards, terminating the calls using those SIM cards, to make the call appear to be a local call.
It can also be described as the unauthorised use of GSM gateways to bypass the international gateway switch and associated termination fees, which directly results in revenue losses and other problems for mobile operators.
According to the Director of the CID, Mr Prosper Kwame Agblor, on June 27, 2013, the special task force, made up of personnel from the CID and the telcos, conducted two separate operations, the first of which resulted in the arrest of suspect Naziru Osman, Jibril Mohammed, Idrrisu Mamoud and Osman Musah in various hideouts at Nima in Accra.
He said searches conducted revealed three SIM Box machines, six heavy duty batteries and other accessories.
The second operation led to the arrest of another suspect by name Michael Asamoah at Asylum Down.
The suspect is said to have led the police to Abossey Okai where five SIM boxes, four heavy duty batteries, one UPS and an inverter was seized from a room.
The CID Director said the suspect was said to have mentioned the name of suspect Anthony Ogunsanuro Olawale, a Nigerian, as the owner of the equipment and led police to arrest him, adding that the suspects were being put before court.
He also indicated that the total loss from the activities of the new suspects ran into about GH¢40 million.
Co-incidentally, the Daily Graphic gathered that the hundreds of SIM cards used in this particular SIM Box fraud were all from one operator, Glo.
Source: Charles Benoni Okine/D-Graphic
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