The Liberia Telecommunications Authority (LTA) has announced it has seized SIM box equipment from the newly established GSM company Novafone and arrested the company’s ISP technical supervisor for illegally operating the device.
LTA said the SIM box equipment is capable of defrauding the government of Liberia of millions of dollars in tariffs by illegally rerouting incoming international calls and disguising their origin to appear as local calls.
Using the Authority’s new SIM box detector equipment, which is no bigger than an iPad, LTA unearthed the activity and submitted evidence to the law enforcement authorities who issued a search warrant at the GSM company.
Following the search, LTA found 188 SIM cards attached to Novafone’s SIM box equipment after which the company’s supervisor, named as Hussein Dakroub, was arrested, New Dawn reports.
Angelique Weeks, the acting chairperson at LTA, said: “This is another example of LTA’s ongoing efforts in the fight to thwart criminal activities that deny the government of much needed revenue from the telecom sector.”
Dakroub said Chadi Salim, the former chief executive officer (CEO) of Novafone, was the one who gave him the SIM box.
However, prior to Hussein’s arrest, Salim had resigned from the company and left the country.
“For several years now, the LTA has been trying to acquire spectrum monitoring and management equipment, which will be used to locate unauthorized users of Liberia’s spectrum resource,” Weeks said.
LTA, through its International Gateway Monitoring and Management System (IGMS), was able to identify 233 fraudulent numbers routed through the Novafone System between December 2 and December 8.
LTA has said this is the first time such identification and subsequent confiscation has been facilitated by the new detection equipment that pinpoints the location of illegal SIM Boxes.
Rebecca McKitterick, chief commercial officer (CCO) at Novafone, said Hassan was indeed arrested and is currently undergoing police questioning, with the company yet to receive a police report.