Takoradi girls’ kidnappers could have been easily arrested with SIM registration system - Ursula
Communications Minister, Ursula Owusu-Ekuful, has asserted that the mysteries behind the kidnap and the subsequent murder of the Takoradi girls could have been handled properly, had there been a working SIM card registration system.
The girls, who were reported missing between August and December 2018, were later confirmed dead after human remains retrieved from the residence of the prime suspect tested positive to a DNA test.
On the back of this, the minister, while addressing some pertinent issues relating to cyber-attacks said, the existence of a stable and working database of SIM cards would have made investigations and apprehension of the suspects easier for law enforcement agencies.
“Ghana enacted the Subscriber Identity Modules registration regulations in 2011 primarily to reduce mobile phone related crimes such as prank calls, cybercrime, mobile money fraud, and its related issues and improve upon our general security. It is also intended to help our law enforcement agencies to identify the SIM card owners, track criminals who use phones for illegal activities curb incidents such as phone theft, hate texts…kidnapping and to combat crime such as SIM box fraud...”
She continued, “I dare say if we had an effective SIM registration system, it would have been quicker to catch those who kidnapped and eventually murdered the Takoradi girls.”
Highlighting the measures put in place to ensure a working SIM card registration, the Minister announced the commencement date for the re-registration exercise.
With a deadline of June 2020, the SIM re-registration will commence in January 2020 and all persons who fail to adhere to the provisions of the exercise will have their phone numbers deactivated.
“The Ministry has consulted all relevant stakeholders and hereby announces that from 1st January 2020, we will all be required to re-register our SIM cards. Any SIM card which is not registered will be deactivated by June 2020, giving a six-month time frame for this exercise. We entreat all citizens, residents, and visitors to cooperate to ensure the success of this exercise for our collective security.”
She said, “cybercrime is the easiest way for criminals to perpetuate crime using the same medium we use for our day to day online activities. As it provides anonymity and is not limited to geographical boundaries.”
The minister indicated that there are already existing pre-registered SIM cards as well as fraudulent registration of SIM cards in the system which are in contrast to the law.
These deficiencies she added facilitate fraudulent activities such as mobile money fraud, illegal termination of international traffic among other prohibited doings lead to revenue loss to the status and impersonation.
Mrs Owusu-Ekuful said though some SIM cards may have been registered with a valid ID manually, the poor manual verification process, millions of SIMs registered have been rendered invalid because of non-verification of these IDs electronically with the databases of the Card Issuing Agencies