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Simbox Fraud Costs Nation $900,000 In Five Months   
 
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07-Apr-2015  
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A prosecution witness has told the Financial Division of the Accra High Court that the illegal operation of the simbox business costs the nation a total of $900,000 in five months.

The Fraud Prevention Manager of Vodafone Ghana, Mr Theophilus Botchwey, said most registered service providers charged 19 cents a minute per international call but simbox operators negotiated to charge 10 cents and kept the nine cents.

He said the $900,000 was calculated by a team of communications and security experts after the arrest of illegal simbox operators in various parts of the country this year.

He said the use of simbox allowed calls from international destinations to be diverted to appear as though they were local calls at a far cheaper price.

Mr Botchwey was last Wednesday testifying in the case in which a former President of the Ghana Real Estate Development Association (GREDA), Dr Alexander Kofi Tweneboa, is standing trial for possessing one 16-slot simbox and accessories used for providing electronic communication service without licence from the National Communications Authority (NCA).

Charge

The businessman has been charged with three counts of providing electronic communications service without licence by the NCA and possessing illegal device contrary to section 135 of the Electronic Transaction Act, 772, 2008.

He has pleaded not guilty to all the charges.

Other simbox operators

Two other simbox operators who were arrested in their rooms at Asafo in Kumasi also appeared before the court. They are Francis Abbey and Alvin Abib.

An investigator in the case tendered all the simbox gadgets and other accessories they used for their illegal operations in evidence.

Evidence

Led in evidence by a State Attorney, Mrs Stella Ohene Appiah, the prosecution witness said calls made from countries such as the United Kingdom (UK) and the United States of America (USA) were supposed to go through the carriers of registered parent service providers at a cost of 19 cents per minute per call.

“But with simbox, the illegal operator negotiates with unknown foreign operators to reduce the price to 10 cents per call, allowing them to keep the nine cents,” he stated.

The prosecution witness told the court that in a bid to tackle the growing business of simbox, an anti-fraud taskforce, including personnel of the NCA, the telcos and the security, was set up to arrest the illegal operators.
 
 
Source: Daily Graphic
 
 

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