Ghana: SIM Box fraudsters busted in $100m fraud
The activities of the fraudsters had led to a revenue loss of $33 million dollars within a five to seven month period, police told the media on Monday during a parade of the seven arrested persons and their seized gadgets.
It costs 19 cents a minute to make a call into Ghana, so there is an incentive
Ghana has been grappling with the lingering menace of SIM box fraud and between October 2010 and August 2014, 13 SIM box fraud cases were recorded were 13 and 17 suspects, both Ghanaian and foreign – including an Italian – were arrested.
The fraudsters allegedly route calls from overseas through the internet and terminate them through local SIM cards fitted into devices called SIM boxes.
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, top police official, Prosper Kwame Agblor, said.
The police described such activities as an “act of sabotage” and vowed to immobilise the fraudsters’ efforts to illegally siphon Ghana’s revenue.
In the past, the crime was limited to the capital Accra, but signals received on the ground and the arrests made in various parts of the country confirm that the activities had become widespread, Minister of Communications, Edward Omane Boamah said.
Meanwhile, the government plans to introduce an interconnect clearinghouse to serve as a firewall against fraudulent activities, barring illegally routed traffic from entering the country.
But the Ghana Chamber of Telecommunications says the solution to end the crime is for the country’s mobile network operators to review downwards their rates on international calls into Ghana and make SIM box fraud unattractive to criminals.
“It costs 19 cents a minute to make a call into Ghana, so there is an incentive because the network operators are obliged to charge not less than 19 cents a minute for a call coming into Ghana,” the chamber said. founder of social metric marcus ho
“If you don’t unearth and eliminate that incentive for it, 10 years from now, we will be having these press conferences but it would not get to the bottom of it,” the chamber’s chief executive officer Kwaku Sakyi Addo told local media.