Nabbed! 3 Arrested for SIM box fraud

The suspects were identified as Selasi Dorfenyo, 26; Eric Akpanya, 30, and the teenager, whose identity is being withheld.

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The suspects, (from left): Selasie Dorfenyo and Eric Akpanya play

The suspects, (from left): Selasie Dorfenyo and Eric Akpanya

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Three persons, including a teenager, who allegedly engaged in the termination of international calls and caused the government a revenue loss of $196,992 have been arrested by the police.

The suspects were identified as Selasi Dorfenyo, 26; Eric Akpanya, 30, and the teenager, whose identity is being withheld.

They reportedly used voice over Internet protocol (VOIP) technology to route calls to landlines and cell phones from any part of the world to Ghana and vice versa.

An MTN distributor, whose name is being withheld and who is said to be an accomplice, is on the run and the police say efforts are being made to get him apprehended.

The arrest was made by a task force made up of the police, as well as officials from the National Communications Authority (NCA), telecommunications service providers and Subah Infosolutions Ghana Limited.

The arrest

Briefing journalists in Accra yesterday, the Director General of the Criminal Investigations Department (CID) of the Ghana Police Service, Commissioner of Police (COP) Mr Prosper K Agblor, said two of the suspects, Dorfenyo and the teenager, were arrested in a house at Tema Community 12 while they were busily scratching top-up cards and loading them onto SIM cards to feed SIM boxes which were in operation at the time of the arrest.

After searching the house, he said, the task force confiscated two SIM boxes, as well as 700 MTN and 100 Airtel top-up cards.

Additionally, the task force found one generating set, two heavy-duty batteries, one uninterruptable power supply (UPS) equipment, one laptop, one mini tablet, two Internet modems and 16 antennae.

Upon interrogation, he said, the two suspects mentioned Akpanya as the person who had engaged them to operate the SIM boxes.

Akpanya, he said, was arrested a day later and he admitted his involvement in the crime and told investigators that he had been contracted by a Lebanese.

According to Mr Agblor, investigations had established that the suspects diverted the revenue due to government to their private escrow account outside Ghana.

War on SIM box fraud

Twenty cases have been recorded, with 24 people arrested, since 2011 when the war on Sim box fraud was declared.

Out of the number, three persons have been convicted and four discharged, with 16 cases still under investigations, while one case has been forwarded to the Attorney-General’s Department for advice.

NCA advice

The Director General of the NCA,  Mr William Tevie, said since 2010, the illegal activity had resulted in an estimated loss of $52 million of revenue that should have been paid by service providers abroad.

He advised the public to look out for persons who bought volumes of SIM cards and avoided registration of those cards.

Subah Infosolutions’ role 

Speaking later in an interview, the Director General of Subah Infosolutions Ghana Limited, Mr Redeemer Kwame, said an estimated 1,400 unregistered SIM cards suspected to be used for the illegal operation of SIM boxes were terminated by his outfit on a daily basis.

He said the company had equipment which helped to detect and monitor the activities of the suspected fraudsters.

SIM boxes, he explained, were illegal terminals used for routing international calls to evade government taxes, adding that the NCA estimated that more than $40 million in taxes was lost to the state due to the activities of SIM box fraudsters.

Source: graphic.com.gh

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