Ghana loses $33m to SIM box fraud – Police

Some of the suspects.
Some of the suspects.

The Criminal Investigation Department (CID) of the Ghana Police Service on Monday paraded eight illegal SIM BOX operators it has arrested, before the media.

It urged the public to report persons engaged in similar activities in their communities.

The Commissioner of Police (COP), Prosper Kwame Agblor, Director-General of the CID told a media briefing that the despicable activities of the fraudsters had led to a total revenue loss of $ 33 million dollars between a period of five to seven months.

According to him the country has been grappling with the lingering menace of SIM box fraud, where some fraudsters in Ghana and abroad route calls from overseas through the internet and terminate them through local SIM cards fitted into devices called SIM boxes.

He said that way they create the impression that those calls were generated locally, so they pay only local rates and rob the country of huge sums of money.

COP Agblor said the arrests which were made in Accra, Tema, Koforidua and Kumasi, was made possible through the Joint Anti-Telecom Fraud Task force made up of detectives from the CID Headquarters, Officials from the National Communications Authority (NCA), the various telecom service providers in Ghana, and with support from SUBAH Info Solutions Ghana Limited.

He described the arrest as the largest and most successful operation embarked upon by the task force as far as SIM BOX fraud was concerned.

He commended the task force for the herculean task which also involves a life threatening experience because most of these fraudsters were heavily armed, and also the role that SUBAH Info Solutions Systems played in the entire operations using high technological gadgets to locate these SIM BOXES.

A large number of SIM BOXES, equipment and items including Laptops computers, Monitors, Heavy duty batteries, generators, internet routers, SIM Servers, 4G internet Modems, printers, mini Antennas, power inverters, a Satellite Earth Receiver System and large quantities of assorted scratch cards of various Telecom Service Providers, among other things were seized.

COP Agblor said even though some of the culprits escaped from the grips of the task force, efforts were being made to arrest and bring them to book, however all the suspects arrested so far in connection with the illegal SIM BOX activities have been arraigned and remanded in Police custody pending further investigation.

He the CID is serving a warning to all who are involved in such activities to desist from the act of sabotage because the task force is determined to immobilise their efforts to illegally siphon Ghana’s revenue for their personal gains.

Dr Edward Omane Boamah, Minister of Communications, described the amount involved, and the crime as very worrying occurrence to the NCA and government.

He said in times past the crime used to happen only in Accra, but signals received by the task force on the ground and the arrests made in various parts of the country confirms the fact that such activities are becoming widespread.

He said government has instituted stringent measures and is collaborating with institutions such as the Narcotic Control Board and the International Telecommunications Union among others, to address the challenge.

He also mentioned the coming on board of the Interconnect Clearinghouse, which would serve as a firewall against such activities, because it would bar such fraudulently routed traffic from entering the country.

He said by this, the overseas carriers who give traffic to SIM box fraudsters to bring to Ghana would have problems if they did not use the approved routes which are the approved gateways of the telcos and any approved private international wholesale transit operator.

Source: GNA

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