The Communication Authority of Kenya (CA) has banned SIM card hawking following an audit report that found that subscriber information with Mobile Network Operators (MNOs) is inaccurate or incomplete.
In a statement to newsrooms, CA states that anybody found hawking SIM cards risks a fine of up to Ksh500,000 or 12 months imprisonment or both. In addition, subscribers must appear in person and provide correct information.
Providing incorrect information is an offence that attracts a fine Ksh100,000 or imprisonment for six (6) months or both, according to the statement from CA.
The Francis Wangusi led authority has also directed all MNOs to review their respective subscriber registration databases and confirm that SIM cards that are unregistered, partly registered, improperly/un-procedurally registered, fraudulently registered, and SIM cards with multiple ownerships are immediately switched-off and no longer reside on their network going forward from their networks.
“According to the findings, it was evident that operators are not in control of the agents. This was occasioned by weak controls in management of SIM sales agents. In most cases, a dangerous trend was noted where the MNO databases that had records which appeared to have been populated from other secondary sources. Other SIM cards were found to have
multiple registrations with different identity details, with potential use for criminal purposes,” says Wangusi in a statement.
MNOs will also be required to submit list of all agents and sub-agents that deal in sales and
subscriber registration on their behalf.
“In view of these findings, the Communications Authority of Kenya has directed the mobile
network operators submit to the Authority, details of agents and sub-agents that deal in sales and subscriber registration on their behalf. The details required include the company
registration details, number of outlets and locations in which they operate, duration in
which such agents have been in operation, contacts details, ownership details, among
others,” reads the statement from Wangusi.
In the new regulations, upon request of registration of a new SIM card, agents will have to verify identification documents with the Integrated Population Registration System (IPRS) when subscribers present them at the time of registration. IPRS will be accessible to agents after the Ministry of Interior Coordination opens the same to the agents.
“The market surveillance revealed that a number of agents do not request for identification
documents at the point of purchase of the SIM cards. There is also little or no verification of
the identities of SIM card buyers vis a vis the documents they have presented,” adds Wangusi.
The statement from Wangusi comes months after Kahawa Tungu revealed how SIM swap scammers were stealing from the public using personal information from secondary sources.
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