2 SIM Box Fraudsters Arrested

SIM FRAUDTwo people have been arrested for their alleged involvement in sim box fraud.

Evans Agbenyo, and Georgia Vera Mensah, both students in their 20s and two others, Christopher Kojo Ewusie and John Owusu, now on the run, are said to have diverted over one million international calls through a system, resulting in a loss of about GH¢3,093,200 ($836,000) revenue, within six months.

Their modus operandi was to divert foreign calls from going through a central system,  into a private system, to make them appear to the recipients in local numbers, instead of international numbers or codes. By that, they robbed the state and telecom service providers of their deserved revenues.

At a news briefing in Accra yesterday, the Director-General of CID, Commissioner of Police (COP) Prosper Kwame Agblor, disclosed last Tuesday, his outfit, the National Communications Authority and MTN, had a hint that the suspects were engaging in sim box fraud at Dome Pillar 2, a suburb of Accra.

The team,rushed to the place and succeeded in arresting the two suspects, in a three-bedroom apartment.

A total of 1,006 sim cards were retrieved from them. Of these, 308 were used Vodafone, 283 Glo; 257 MTN, 150 Aitel and eight, Tigo.

The team, also seized 16 port goip-router and mini-antenae, five external wireless routers, linksys wifi route and three laptops of Samsung, HP and Toshiba brands.

Five switch and tenda switch, linksys broadband router, alvarions external wireless and 32 port goip routers and Linksys voice gateway were also retrieved.

COP Agblor said 954 unused sim cards were also retrieved in the course of the operation. They were 339 Vodafone, 291 MTN, 193  Airtel, 111 Glo and 20 Tigo.

A total of 100 unused recharge cards, to each of Glo and MTN were also recovered from the suspects.

Mr. Agblor disclosed between October 2010 and August, this year, 17 suspects (Ghanaians and other nationals) were arrested in connection with 13 sim box fraud cases, amounting to a total loss of about GH¢185,000,000 ($50.000,000) to both the state and the service providers.

He said an Italian, who was involved in one of the cases has been sentenced to five years, with the other cases pending before court and warned that the police would deal with those who indulge in such acts.

The Minister of Communications, Dr. Edward Omane Boamah, commended the team for arresting the suspects and urged them to intensify their search, to bring those at large to book.

He described as worrying, activities of the perpetrators, saying Cabinet had approved four new policies to protect the operations of service providers, whose operations are being by-passed, which hitherto, should have gone through the central system, thereby resulting in loss of revenue.

In 2009, he said, the Communication Amendment Act was passed to formulate the minimum rate international calls should attract and also  protect the operations of the service providers among others.

He said because most the connected lines were sub-marine, it requires intelligence and vigilance to  monitor the operations of the saboteurs, but indicated government,  with the police, is determined to stem such operations and ensure the saboteurs are dealt with to serve as deterrents for others.

By Francis Asamoah Tuffour   

 

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