General News of Saturday, 31 January 2015
A member of the taskforce that facilitated the arrest of 17 suspects for SIM Box fraud says contrary to the claims, SUBAH Infosolutions’ role in the exercise was insignificant.
According to Nixon Wampamba, who is the Revenue Assurance and Fraud Management officer at MTN, SUBAH’s role in the arrest can best be described as needless.
A joint Anti-Telecom Fraud Taskforce made up detectives from the Police CID, officials from the National Communications Authority (NCA), officials from the various Telecom Service Providers in Ghana and with an alleged technical support from Subah Infosolutions Ghana Limited, embarked on a nationwide operation to clamp down the illegal activities of SIM Box operators.
SUBAH Infosolutions has been specifically praised by public officials and government spokespersons for its role in the arrest of former president of the Ghana Real Estate Developers Association (GREDA), Dr Alexander Tweneboah together with others for their involvement in SIM Box fraud that cost the nation some $33 million.
But this has been seen as opportunistic on the part of the company. Some have argued that the company was using the arrest as a PR gimmick in an effort to repair its image following the bad publicity it got three years ago.
SUBAH, which is also a subsidiary of Zoomlion Ghana Ltd, was contracted in 2010 by the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA) to provide telecommunication traffic monitoring services and is reported to have been paid a sum of GH?144 million from 2010 to 2013 for doing little or no work.
The company was expected to monitor and verify the volume of calls generated by telecom companies for tax purposes but could not fully carry out its task – for which it was paid.
It blamed its inability to effectively satisfy the terms of the contract on the telecommunication companies’ unwillingness to allow it undertake its task. Many civil society organisations described the contract between SUBAH and the GRA as needless and a mere conduit to divert money from the state.
So the strained efforts to give credit for the arrest to the company raised suspicions.
Editor-in-Chief of the New Crusading Guide newspaper, Abdul Malik Kweku Baako, Thursday called for a clearer definition of SUBAH Infosolutions’ role in the arrest.
Speaking on Joy FM and Multi-TV’s news analysis programme, Newsfile Saturday, Mr Wampamba said “The most important equipment that was used for this bust was for [a vendor], who was part of one of the operators,” and they provided the needed logistics and drive around equipment to track the fraudsters.
“The [telecom] operators’ part was critical,” but SUBAH’s “role…I will say was small. Needless,” he said.
Kwaku Sakyi Addo, CEO of Telecoms Chamber commenting on the issue said the operators that were used in this recent bust are the same for past operations.
The arrest of SIM Box fraudsters at Dome Pillar 2, a suburb of Accra, in September 2014 “for example, SUBAH was not involved in that and the equipment that was used for this bust is the same equipment that was used in the latest,” he noted.
Kwame Baah-Acheamfour, the Principal Manager in charge of the Regulatory Administration at the NCA on his part said the role of SUBAH cannot be undermined whilst the credit went to one organization.
“It’s not fair that as a team some parts of that team want to take credit for a certain activity that has been done. We are using concerted efforts to fight all crimes in the telecom [sector],” he said.