Government has warned players within the SIM card registration value chain including subscribers and agents to comply strictly with the legal frameworks that govern their operations.
According to Government, it has through the Ministry of Communications taken note of a number of deficiencies with the current SIM card registration regime in Ghana.
The deficiencies, it said, include: the sale of pre-registered SIM cards; the use of pre-registered SIM cards and the use of fraudulently registered SIM cards.
Information Minister, Kojo Oppong Nkrumah, who issued the warning on behalf of Government at a press briefing on Sunday in Accra, said “these deficiencies give way to fraudulent activities to be perpetuated through the use of mobile phones such as: mobile money fraud, illegal SIM swap; termination of international office (SIM-boxing) leading to revenue loss to the state, impersonation and cyber-crime.”
The use of such SIM cards to impersonate and commit fraud has over the years been a common practices, with a number of foreigners arrested in some cases.
According to the Minister, with government's commitment to migrate towards a formalised digital economy as part of the Digital Ghana Agenda (DGA), it was important for the communications industry to ensure the integrity of an integrated database and systems. This will also build security, trust and confidence for the use of digital services.
He stated that “while we partner the relevant institutions for the complete roll out of the National Identification cards for SIM registration, the National Communications Authority (NCA) will ensure strict compliance with the law and engage MNOs and all relevant stakeholders to address these deficiencies.”
The Minister urged that
“all actors must comply with the relevant statutory provisions as listed below: Subscriber Identity Module Registration Regulation, 2011 (L.I. 2006) which governs the responsibilities related to SIM registration.
Section 73 (a) of the Electronic Communications Amendment Act. 2016 (Act 910) states that:
“(1) A network operator or service provider shall comply with the directives established by the Authority to (a) prevent; (b) detect; or (c) disconnect the use of the subscriber identity module or the user identity module of that operator, for terminating an international call on any network in Ghana as a local call.
It also states that “a person who uses a subscriber identity module or user identity module for terminating an international call on any network in Ghana as a local call, commits an offence and is liable on summary conviction to a fine of not more than three thousand penalty units for each subscriber identity module or user identity module used in terminating the international call as a local call or to a term of imprisonment of not more than five years or to both.”
Mr. Oppong Nkrumah indicated that “Government assures the general public that it is committed to building a strong, secure and resilient communications industry for the benefit of the citizenry and the entire country.”
He added that “we are therefore encouraging all subscribers to verify the authenticity of their SIM registration by dialling *400# on any network.
If you have any relevant information on the above subject dial: 1. 0800 11 0622 (Toll free) 2. 0307011419 (Hotline).”