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No laws on mobile money; MP warns of possible scandal

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Alexander Afenyo-Markin, the Member of Parliament (MP) for Efutu, has alerted the nation of possible financial mishaps that may arise by telecommunication companies through mobile money transfers.

Against a backdrop of the recent financial scandals involving some micro-finance companies, the MP questioned why the telecommunication companies are operating mobile money transfers without the proper legislation, rather than the present administrative procedure by the Bank of Ghana.

According to the legislator, there was a whopping approximate GH¢33 billion, being kept in transfer of monies as at last year, and expressed wonder why the companies continue to operate without legislation to regulate their operations.

Mr Markin, speaking in Parliament, on the Business Statement, prayed the House to invite the Governor of the Bank of Ghana, to brief the House on the legal framework within which the telecommunication companies are operating mobile money transfers.

The Business Statement, presented by Mr Alfred Kwame Agbesi, Deputy Majority Leader and MP for Ashaiman, was silent on the mobile money issue, which Mr Afenyo Markin had filed.

Some of the noted fraudulent activities that affect operations of mobile money are vishing/smishing: use of phone calls or SMS to gather personal details such as account numbers, PINs or personal identification details; advance fee scams where customers are duped to send funds under fake circumstances or promises; and payroll fraud – non-existent or “ghost” employees receiving funds.

Other forms of fraud are reversal requests, where a customer requests to reverse transactions that were in fact successful; false transactions by sending fake SMS to make customers believe a transaction was successful, often accompanied by a reversal request.

There are also split transactions, where agents split cash-in transactions in order to earn multiple commissions (only applies to tiered commission structure), false transactions where agents transfer customer funds to personal accounts; as well as registration fraud where there is creation of accounts for false, invalid or duplicated customers for the purpose of obtaining extra registration commissions.

There may also be internal fraud by employees colluding for unfair personal financial gain as well as identity theft where employees access and exploit customer information without authorisation.

Mr Afenyo-Markin expressed the need for proper due diligence to avoid the risk that befell the nation with similar operations like micro finance companies last year.

Mr Haruna Iddrisu, the Minister of Employment and Labour Relations, and MP for Tamale South however drew the attention the Efutu Constituency Legislator that the activities of the telecommunication companies are regulated by the National Communications Authority.

Mr Iddrisu however cautioned Mr Afenyo Markin to “tread cautiously,” reminding him the political party, the New Patriotic Party, on whose ticket he (Mr Afenyo-Markin) is in Parliament is raising funds through mobile money.

Mr Afenyo- Markin also raised the matter of why the Council of the University of Education, Winneba, which was situated in the Efutu Constituency, had not been constituted since 2013.

Source: GNA

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