NCA terminates 3,469 fraud numbers on AIRTEL in January 2011

Mr. Haruna Iddrisu, Minister for Communication, on Tuesday said in the first twenty days of the 2011, 3,469 fraud numbers, 95 per cent of total fraud numbers, were terminated on AIRTEL’s network.

Mr Iddrisu who was answering questions on the floor of Parliament noted however that the total number of fraudulent SIM cards had reduced from 12, 440 in October 2010 to 3,506 as of 20 January 2011.

He said notwithstanding the National Communication Authority’s (NCA) success in reducing fraud on the network, it was still alarming that AIRTEL was still recording fraudulent numbers on its network.

The NCA has accordingly been instructed to assist AIRTEL to remedy the situation.

Mr Iddrisu said the situation was made known after a study carried out by the NCA for the period between June 2010 and January 2011.

He said the study showed that Kasapa was the only network that had recorded fewer fraudulent numbers-only three cases in June 2010 and one case in January 2011.

He said all the other networks including; MTN, AITEL, TIGO and VODAFONE, have recorded fluctuating escalating fraudulent numbers in the same period.

Mr Iddrisu said October 2010 recorded the highest fraudulent numbers of 12,440 with VODAFONE having the highest of 8,010 numbers followed by AIRTEL (formally ZAIN) with 4,241, MTN with 85, TIGO 13 and Kasapa-zero.

He said from January 1 to 20 2011, a total of 3,506 fraudulent networks was recorded with AIRTEL recording 3,469 followed by VODAFONE (24), TIGO
(10), MTN (2) and Kasapa (1).

Mr Haruna said the escalating fraudulent numbers on the networks of the telecom operators constituted loss of revenue to the companies and to government.

He said anti-fraud exercise of the NCA had also led to the arrest of two illegal operators and the seizure of 8,792 SIM cards which if they were still in use will lead to an estimated revenue loss of $500,000 per month, with government losing up to 100,000 per month in tax/levy collection.

He said in June 2009, Cabinet granted approval for the implementation of a Call Verification system in Ghana to address fraud and other by-pass mechanism employed by telecommunication operators in the termination of in-bound international telephone traffic and also enhance tax revenue to government.

He said the project was implemented by the NCA and its partners; Global Voice Group of South Africa, adding that to facilitate the implementation of the project, the Electronic communications 2008, (Act 775) was amended by Parliament in December 2009 by the passage of the Electronic Communications (Amendment) Act 2009 (Act 786) to give effect to the government policy.

He said the NCA commenced the installation of the intelligence signaling management system (SIM Box Fraud Detection Tool) to verify the Call Data Records of the networks of the telecom operators.

Mr Iddrisu said the Electronic Communication Act was amended to empower the NCA to establish mechanisms and institute measures to monitor compliance with this section and may in this regard carry out inspections and request any relevant information from a network operator.

He said the installation exercise was stalled as a result of a court action initiated in July 2010 by the Alliance for Accountable Government seeking relief that exercise will not intrude into their private conversations.

After appreciating the need to eliminate illegal SIM Box termination in the country, AFAG graciously withdrew the court action.

Mr Iddrisu noted however that three other Ghanaian citizens subsequently filed another action in court and it was this that stalled the installation of anti-fraud equipment, adding that the matter was still pending before the law court.

He said the NCA was currently relying on voluntary declaration of call volumes to invoice telecom operators for payment of government’s portion of termination rate as provided in the law.

He said within six months of implementation ending December 2010 and relying on voluntary submission of call Data records, the revenue generated as Non-Tax revenue contribution to the government stood at about 30 million dollars.

Mr Iddrisu noted that the NCA was continuing with its anti-fraud monitoring responsibilities and reports at two-hourly intervals to the telecom operators, fraud numbers detected on their networks so that these will be immediately disconnected to prevent usage, adding that until the verification equipment was completed on the networks, this action cannot be authenticated.

The Minister said that NCA had successfully installed and tested the equipment in various designated locations.

These include; Graphic Road Base station, Kumasi Nhyiase for MTN, while ZAIN has completed installation at North Ridge, and Spintex Road as well as the main Zain site in Kumasi. TIGO  and Vodafone have not yet started installation.

Source: GNA

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