Three persons, including a 16-year-old boy, have been arrested by the Communication Fraud Task Force for sim-box fraud.
The suspects were Selassi Dorfenyo, 24, Nicholas Ntsu, 16, and Eric Akpanya, 30.
The three were arrested at house number B56, Tema Community 12, by the task force comprising detectives from the Police Criminal Investigation Department (CID), the National Communications Authority (NCA) and Telecommunication Service Providers, with technical support from Subah Info Solutions Limited.
COP Prosper Agblor, flanked by mr redeemer Kwame of Subah infosolutions and mr William Tevie, D/G of NCA addressing the press
The suspects were seen busily scratching top-up cards and loading them unto sim cards to feed the sim boxes which were then operational at the time of their arrest.
A search conducted on their premises revealed two sim boxes, 700 MTN sim cards, 100 Airtel and MTN top-up cards, one generator, two heavy duty batteries, a UPS, a laptop, a mini tablet and 16 antennas.
The suspects, who have provisionally been charged for fraud and money laundering, are currently in the custody of the CID headquarters awaiting trial.
Briefing the media, COP Prosper Kwame Agblor, the director general in charge of Criminal Investigation Department (CID), said the suspects were arrested on July 6, 2015 at their hideout at Tema.
He noted that the communication task force initially arrested Selassi Dorfenyo and Nicholas Ntsu and during interrogation, the two mentioned Eric Akpanya as the one who had engaged them to assist him operate the sim boxes.
Consequently, Akpanya was apprehended on July 7.
During investigations, he told the police that a yet-to-be-identified Lebanese was his accomplice but police were yet to ascertain that fact.
COP Agblor told the media that the suspects, who had been operating for the past four months, had deprived the government of an amount of $196,992.00.
The suspects, according to the police, diverted this amount into their private escrow account abroad.
Meanwhile, it has been established that in January 2015 alone, government lost a whopping sum of $29,200,000 to sim box fraudsters.
In March to April 2015, a total of $21,915,360 was lost while in July a total of $14,379,424 had been lost.
Number of Suspects Arrested
The Director General of the National Communications Authority, Williams Tevie, said the task force location findings over the past six months had led to the arrest of 17 people, four of whom were foreign nationals.
The arrests, he claimed, were made at 10 different locations in Accra, Kumasi and Tema and this had truncated an estimated loss of about $52 million of revenue that was due to be received from service providers abroad if the calls passed through the licensed international gateways to Ghana.
Out of the number, three persons were convicted by the court, while four were discharged.
Ten of the cases were still pending in court while six were still under investigation.
Only one of the cases was at the Attorney General’s Department for advice.
He urged the public to look out for persons who buy volumes of sim cards but do not register same.
Giving the genesis of how suspects operate their businesses, Redeemer Kwame, Director of Subah Info Solutions, said the exercise was part of a special sim fraud triangulation project instituted in December 2014 to locate and confiscate sim boxes across the country.
‘Sim boxes are illegal terminals for routing international calls to evade government taxes. Averagely, Subah Info Solutions are able to block over one 1,100 daily.’
By Linda Tenyah Ayettey
( [email protected] )
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