Ghana Police arrest former GREDA President for Sim Box Fraud...

An anti-fraud collaboration between the security agencies and telecom service providers in the country has led to the arrest of some persons involved in a SIM Box fraud syndicate in Ghana.

The operation which led to the arrest of the suspects which included the former President of the Ghana Real Estate Developers Association, (GREDA) Alex Tweneboah (pictured above in blue shirt) has been described as one of the major busts in recent times.

The suspects who have been named as Ebenezer Boateng, Victor Owusu, Kwadwo Asare, Alvin Habib, Francis Abbey, Alexander Tweneboah and David Ayikyi were paraded at a press conference together with their equipment in Accra on Monday.

Members of the syndicate according to the investigators, carried out the illegal termination of telephone calls also known as SIM box operations and deprived telecom operators and the state revenue.

Suspects arrested so far

Between October 2010 and August 2014, SIM box fraud cases recorded were 13, resulting in the arrest of 17 suspects made up of Ghanaians and foreign nationals.

One of the kingpins, an Italian arrested in connection with SIM box fraud, has been sentenced to five years' imprisonment, while the other cases are pending before the courts.

What is SIM Box?

In recent times, fraudulent SIM Box operations have gained prominence in many parts of the world especially in Africa. The fraud takes place when individuals or organisations illegally terminate a voice call which is the preserve of registered licensed network operators, usually at lower cost than the approved rates.

These are then used to channel national or international calls away from licensed international gateway operators and presented as local calls on unlicensed networks.

The net result of this illegal termination of minutes is a significant loss of international call revenue to both mobile network operators and the state.

According to the National Communications Authority (NCA), such a development creates lower customer satisfaction and affects mobile networks through the removal of caller line identity, network congestion on same cell, high authentication attempts over networks as well as long waiting time and difficulty in connection.

Aside these, there is a generally poor quality of services including voice signal delay and an excessive number of dropped calls, according to the NCA.

The scale of SIM box fraud to the NCA is driven by the easy availability of GSM gateway hardware and the wide range of different offers available from mobile network operators, which makes it possible for organisations to effectively go into business, terminating GSM calls and generating thousands in revenue which, should otherwise have been collected by network operators.