Telecom regulator, National Communications Authority (NCA), has revealed that 20% of the identification documents provided by subscribers during the Subscriber Identity Module (SIM) card registration are fake.
Deputy Director of Corporate and Consumer Affairs, NCA, Mawuko Zormelo, told BusinessWeek that so far the verification NCA has done shows that the documents that recorded the largest number as being fake are passports and drivers? licences.
?The identification documents that we have challenges with are the manual ones as compared to the recent biometric identification documents,? said Zormelo.
According to him, the authority has informed the operators to re-register these subscribers before the deadline on June 30.
?It is not NCA objective to punish anybody, but we need to ask the public to do the right thing,? he added.
He stated that currently 94% of the total mobile subscribers in the country have registered their SIM cards, adding that the authority is however expected to do a final verification to assess the progress of the registration across the country before the last date.
From July 1, this year, all subscribers who fail to register their SIM card will not be able to use them and will also lose all their contacts. The authority is therefore cautioning all SIM card holders to register their cards.
The reason for the registration of SIM cards, among other things, was to enable the network operators to have a database their clients. Before the NCA announced the SIM card registration in Ghana, it was noted that only about 30% of subscribers had registered their SIM cards.
Zormelo emphasised that the June 30 deadline stands as it and NCA has no plan to extend it.
?The June 30th deadline for subscribers of mobile phones to register their SIM cards still stands. Subscribers who fail to meet their deadline will have their phone lines blocked,? he added.
BusinessWeek investigation has revealed that most of the agents of MTN, Vodafone, Tigo, Airtel and Espresso are demanding students? identification cards, as well as workplace identity cards, during the registration exercise rather than Passport, Drivers Licence, National Identification Authority card, National Health Insurance Identification and Voters ID card.
NCA also expressed worry about some students and professional bodies, such as the Police and the Army, using their workplace identity cards to register their SIM cards rather than the required identity cards, because these agents want to sell more SIM cards to the public, as well as register a lot of people.
Zormelo denied the allegation that the National Security will have access to the particulars of subscribers and also would eavesdrop on people?s conversations.
According to him, National Security will have nothing to do with the registration, but added that it is only a court of law that can order a mobile operator to release particulars about a subscriber.
In Nigeria, similar exercise is ongoing, as the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) has deployed more than 2,000 centres for the registration of SIM cards across the country. The registration is expected to end September 28, this year.
Before the NCC announced the SIM registration exercise, the commission and the operators met with the National Security Adviser and it was discovered that the operators had only registered eight million out of 89 million SIM cards, leaving a balance of 80 million.