General News of Sunday, 1 February 2015
The Ghana Chamber of Telecommunication has downplayed reports that IT firm, Subah Infosolutions, was the major player in the recent arrests of some persons suspected of engaging in sim box fraud.
The suspects including the former Chief Executive Officer of Ghana Real Estates Developers Association (GREDA), Dr. Alexander Tweneboah, were arrested last Monday after they were found in possession of equipment used in perpetrating the crime.
The arrest was later revealed to have involved several bodies including the National Communications Authority (NCA), telecommunication service providers in Ghana, the Criminal Investigations Department (CID) of the Ghana Police Service and Subah.
The IT firm, which has previously been vilified for alleged acts of corruption, has been hailed all week by several officials for its role in the bust and has spoken on several media platforms of the part it played.
However, the Chamber of Telecommunication has suggested that, contrary to reports, Subah’s role, though important to the recent arrests, was dismissible, as other companies had performed that same role successfully in earlier operations.
When asked whether such busts could be done in future without the involvement of Subah on Citi FM‘s news analysis programme, The Big Issue on Saturday, the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Chamber, Kwaku Sakyi Addo, said: “Yes. It has been done before without them. There have been previous successful busts as well. Successful as far as the arrest of suspects and their equipment are concerned and Subah was not part of those task-forces.”
According to him, Subah’s role in the fight against sim box fraud has been exaggerated, while the input of the other players was being understated.
He also criticized what he perceived as an attempt by the company to take advantage of the “collective success” of the arrest for personal gain.
“The recent arrests were made by a task force. That task force is not new. It is a task force that comprises the mobile network operators, all of them have officers that are members of the task force. It also includes the NCA, the regulator, the police, the BNI I believe and lately Subah in this bust. In previous instances, no particular member of the task force stood apart from the task force and claimed that the success of the operation was theirs. Nobody claims the success of a collective as their own because everyone played a part without which the operation would not work,” he said.
Mr. Sakyi Addo added: “Without the police and network operators, this would not have been successful. In fact the particular equipment that is being spoken of was the same equipment that was used in September and the network operator that had this equipment never claimed it. It is a collective exercise and it is not fair to the rest of the team for one member of the team to claim that they are responsible for this success.”
Telcos not complicit in sim box fraud
Kwaku Sakyi Addo reiterated his stance that the Telecom operators were not involved in sim box fraud.
According to him, Telecom operators would not spend the large sums they do trying to curb the menace if they were involved in it.
“Are the network operators complicit in this? No they are not. Because otherwise they wouldn’t be spending hundreds of thousands of dollars a month and engaging fraud management teams who they pay a good sum in salaries to block sim calls”.
The Director General of the CID, DCOP Prosper Ablorh has said the nation has lost more than one hundred million as a result of the practice, adding that about 21,232 SIM cards were recovered from one operator.
Sim box fraud takes place when individuals or organizations illegally terminate a voice call of a registered licensed network operators, usually at lower cost than the approved rates.