Police in Blantyre on Tuesday arrested two mobile phone agents for demanding payment from customers to facilitate their mandatory registration of Subscriber Identity Module (SIM) cards as required by the Communications Act.
The suspects, Kondwani Marangoni, 34, and Hendrix Phwitiko, 47, allegedly asked customers who were desperate for SIM registration to pay K500.
“When I was in the process of registering, that is when I saw the police confronting and arresting the agent who was registering my SIM,” said one of the victims who opted for annonymity.
Blantyre Police Station deputy spokesperson Dorrah Chathyoka said police arrested th
e two after a tip off from Macra that some agents were demanding money from customers.
She said the suspects will be taken to court tomorrow to answer a charge of theft.
In her remarks, Macra communications manager Clara Mwafulirwa said SIM registration is free and that the two will be charged with theft.
“Anybody found charging subscribers for sim registration will be arrested because that is theft,” she said.
Mwafulirwa also reminded the country’s mobile phone operators to deactivate all SIM cards that were not get registered by Sunday, September 30, which was the deadline.
Macra introduced the mandatory SIM cards registration to enable security enforcement agencies to trace perpetrators of various crimes by using subscribers’ data.
The exercise follows the introduction of the Communications Act No. 34 of 2016, which outlines the obligations of consumers and service providers in relation to registration of SIM cards. n