SIM Registration: Stage 1 process of registering to be phased out

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Sim Re Registration Ghana
Sim Re-Registration Ghana

Director of Consumer and Corporate Affairs at the National Communications Authority (NCA), Nana Defie Badu has said that from May 31, 2023, Stage 1 of the ongoing SIM Registration will be completely abolished following the deletion of the 11 million bad SIMs.

She said NCA’s monitoring has showed that Stage 1 is the main avenue by which “unscrupulous agents” are defrauding the process, so from May 31, 2023 the process will be limited to the use of the App and no more the use of the *404# at Stage 1.

Nana Badu was speaking on Atinka TV’s Oman mu Nsem hosted by Nana Owuahene Acheampong in a one-on-one interview about the ongoing SIM Registration process.

The SIM Registration process has been hit by significant fraudulent SIM registrations, where some “unscrupulous agents” are linking multiple SIM cards to the Ghana Cards of people without the consent of the Ghana Card owners.

There have been several reports of one Ghana Cards having been linked to up to 18 SIM cards without the consent of the Ghana Card owners.

Industry watchers have argued that the main avenue by which the “unscrupulous agents” get access to people’s Ghana Card details is the Stage 2 of the process, where applicants go to either telcos or their agents for their Ghana Card details and Biodata to be captured.

Stage 1 is where the individual links his or her SIM card to the Ghana Card by him/herself via *404# without going to show the Ghana Card details to any telco staff or agent, so the risk of exposing one’s Ghana Card details to an agent is highly limited.

But Nana Badu said it is rather the Stage 1 that the unscrupulous agents are taking advantage of to defraud the process.

She explained that the code that is generated at Stage 1 after the linkage, comes from National Identification Authority (NIA) to establish ownership of the Ghana Card. So, when agents get hold of the that code from one applicant, they use it to link other SIM cards to that particular Ghana Card without the consent of the actual owner.

According to her, without getting access to the confirmation code from NIA at Stage 1, the agents will not be able to defraud the system, adding that after the linkage with the confirmation code, the agents are unable to continue the process to Stage 2 because the system will flag such SIMs at Stage 2.

”So between now and May 31, 2023 SIM holders can continue to use Stage 1 to start the SIM registration process, but beyond that date Stage 1 will be completely abolished and the process will be limited to the use of the App only,” she said.

Nana Badu said so far, some of the agents who have been identified as having been involved in the fraud, have been removed completely from the process.

She however assured Ghanaians that none of the Ghana Cards fraudulently linked to SIM cards have been compromised in anyway, in that once the Ghana Card owner uses *402*1# to detect the fraudulent SIM, he or she can report for it to be delinked and the Ghana Card details remains intact.

She also explained that verification with the NIA database is only limited to Stage 1, to establish the Ghana Card ownership; but Stage 2 is strictly for creating the central SIM register as required by law, in the same way every state institution is enjoined by law to have a database.

“We are not required by law to verify the data we collect at Stage 2 with the NIA database. We use it to build a central SIM Register. NCA is enjoined by law to have a centralized SIM Register which is what Stage 2 does and the data kept at the National Information Technology Agency (NITA),” she explained.

Nana Badu said following the deletion of the 11 million bad SIM cards and the abolishment of the Stage 1, NCA will work with the telcos to clean their individual SIM registers before feeding that data into the central SIM Register to ensure the country indeed has a robust SIM Register.

This is consistent with an earlier statement by the NCA Director-General, Joe Anokye that the NCA will do an audit of the telcos’ SIM Register after the deletion of the 11 million SIMs on May 31.

Earlier on, the NCA has deleted 6.1 million SIM card, a lot of which are said to be SIM cards fraudulently linked to Ghana Cards at Stage 1, but could not complete the process to Stage 2.

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