Pre-registered SIM Card Dealers Will be Punished – Minister

Sim Cards
Sim Cards

Minister of Communications and Digitalization, Ursula Owusu Ekuful has warned that vendors who pre-register SIM cards and sell them to interested persons risk being jailed if found out. 

“Let me remind all SIM card vendors that it is an offense to pre-register and sell SIM cards,” the minister said in a statement issued Monday, October 17, 2022.

The National Communications Authority (NCA) has therefore been directed to conduct mystery shopping and enforce the law against those miscreants.

“If found guilty, they [vendors] could be imprisoned for up to 5 years,” the Minister added.

She also noted noted that some people have registered more than 10 SIM cards for tutor personal use and the database has identified them, adding that all the extra SIM cards in the name of one person will be cleaned from the database.

“The culprits, as a matter of urgency, have been asked to delink the unwanted SIM Cards immediately because any excess SIM cards over the individual limit of 10 SIMs per person will be removed from the database and blocked,” she said.

It is only institutions, that can register more than 10 SIM cards under the registration directive.

Previous SIM card registration 

During the previous SIM card registration exercise, it was detected that some SIM card vendors pre-registered cards and sold them. This was because there were instant ID verification system to flag badly registered SIM cards until now that the Ghana Card has made it possible.

For some vendors, they even used the details of people they did not personally know, and without the consent of those people, they registered SIM cards in their names and sold them to different people. Some also used their own personal details to register many SIM cards for sale.

In some instances, it happened so because those affected persons had approached the vendors for assistance to register their own SIM cards, and the vendors kept their details and used it to pre-register other SIM cards for sale.

And so whenever a security issue came up, and the registered name on the card was contacted, in some instances, the security officials uncovered that the person whose details had been used was not even aware that the details had been used to register a SIM card for someone.

New process

This is part of the reason for the new process of registration of Stage 1 and Stage 2.

Stage 1 involves linking the SIM card to the Ghana card and Stage 2 is where the user biometrically verifies it before the registration is fully entered into the database as a completed registration.

Per this process, nobody can use another person’s details to register a SIM card without the person’s knowledge.

The primary objective of the SIM Registration exercise, is to protect the public against fraud, promote collective security and advance the transformational digital agenda.

In the press statement issued Monday, Mrs Owusu-Ekuful indicated that the government was fully committed to ensuring that “we have a safe digital ecosystem underpinning our collective cybersecurity.”

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