The Liberia Telecommunication’s Anti-Fraud Unit busted a SIM Box network operation in Mamba Point near the old C.I.D. Office. Two suspects, Jefferson Mulbah and Dorcat Tartee were arrested Friday and are being detained. Sheriffs from the Monrovia City Court confiscated equipment and hundreds of SIM Cards from both network providers.
The LTA says SIM Box fraud is the illegal termination of international calls which bypasses the proper terminals to assess tariffs thus, they appear as local numbers. This practice is called Grey Routing and robs the government and service providers of hundreds and thousands of dollars annually.
Mulbah and Tartee had an elaborate set up with huge standby batteries to keep their operation functioning.
The LTA received a tip off a few days before the arrest and deployed covert surveillance of the area. A writ of Arrest was secured through LTA’s Legal Team headed by Counsellor Osborne K. Diggs Jr. and Attorney Nurmine Bartekwa, Jr. Judge Peabody of the Monrovia City Court issued the writ and Sheriffs were deployed swiftly to make the arrests, catching the alleged perpetrators unaware.
Unregistered SIM Cards are usually used to carry out Grey Routing. The LTA has continuously stressed the importance of network providers issuing SIM Cards to individuals and businesses that register properly. The requirement is for national security compliance also. The issuance of unregistered SIM cards comes with a heavy penalty.
The LTA has asked that individuals who receive international calls appearing as local numbers to text the local number to a free short code where they will be forwarded to the service providers to block. The public is urged to use the free short code numbers 4739 (Grey) or 4729 (Gray).
The Justice Ministry will be the prosecuting arm of this case as all evidence will be turned over to them for review. In the meantime the LTA will focus on assessing the minutes used on each confiscated SIM Card to determine the amount of money defrauded to government and the Service providers.Liberia Telecommunications Authority Chairperson Ivan Brown will lead the LTA in the first Anti-Fraud bust of the year.