Service providers concede challenges over mobile money fraud

The country’s major telecommunication service providers Airtel Malawi plc and Telkom Networks Malawi (TNM plc) have admitted that they facing challenges in dealing with rising cases of mobile money fraud.

The two companies have acknowledged the challenges after being summoned by the Media, Information and Communications Committee of Parliament in Lilongwe.

According to Airtel Money Country Director Polycarp Ndekana despite barring over 7200 SIM cards of suspected fraudsters, the vice is still on the rise in the country citing Zomba Prison as a major parallel call center where over 91% of such cases are reported.

“It is now a matter of who used which SIM cards, so we are now working more to enhance that process in terms of registrations of SIM cards to see hoe best we can curb what we have learnt from the incidences that are happening around Zomba Prison,” said Ndekana.

Chief Executive Officer (CEO) for TNM plc Arnold Mbwana said the company is also having challenges in arresting the trend, and has since called for concerted efforts from relevant stakeholders.

Mbwana said: “Anything that involve money being stolen irrespective of the amount is a serious matter and so there is no discussion or debate on how serious the matter is, it is serious.

“The big thing that we are working with is the people that are staff of Zomba prison including the Minister himself as you know prison is an institution, there is nothing much we as a mobile operator and being external to that institution can do, we rely on the controls and initiatives already set in the system.”

The TNM CEO added that the company has managed to completely block 130 handsets for being used in the syndicate.

Reacting to issues raised, member of the committee who chaired the meetings Joyce Chitsulo said the Committee will engage concerned parties including Zomba Prison where the vice is on the rise.

“We have actually made some recommendations to the two service providers, like the issue of sensitising the communities so that people are aware of the fraudsters.

“We have also discovered that most of these malpractices happen at Zomba Prison which we feel as a committee and parliament we need to step in and see how we can help to make sure that this is brought to an end,” said Chitsulo.

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