By Momodou Jarju
In the latest update, the Public Utilities Regulatory Authority (PURA),has fined various GSM Companies for selling SIM Cards activated at point of sale to subscribers, without registering their ID details. Africell bore the brunt of the fine with a whooping D5,580, 000.00; Gamcel D90,000 and Qcell D120,000.
In a public notice made available to Foroyaa, PURA stated that D30,000 was charged for each of the SIM Cards sold to subscribers by these GSM Operators, without registering the ID details of their clients.
Africell sold the biggest number of SIM Cards amounting to 186, Qcell sold 4 and Gamcel sold three 3, all of them purportedly without compliance.
Ya Amie Touray, Legal, Licensing and Enforcement Manager of PURA, said the legal notice sent to all media houses, indicated all three GSM Operators have not complied with their regulations. Touray further said that most of the SIM Cards sold, were bought from third parties; that it is the Customer Care Centers that usually follow the Law.
“We embarked on a SIM Cards Registration Monitoring exercise for all GSM Operators and this was throughout the country. We selected villages and places all over the country at random. We bought SIM Cards without registering our IDs. The three of them we were able to get SIM Cards without going through the due process except Comium,” she said.
Touray said the SIM Cards Regulation says they can charge up to D50,000 per SIM Card. She however said this is not the first time Africell and Gamcel have defaulted; that both operators were fined D10,000 per SIM Card when they first defaulted. “So, it is like they are repeated offenders. That is why this time, we decided to fine them D30, 000 per SIM Card,” she added.
Touray opined that this will be the third time Africell is defaulting and the second time for Gamcel; that for Qcell, this is the first time.
Efforts were made to talk to these GSM Operators but to no avail. Africell officials told this reporter that they were in a meeting and could not make comments, whilst Qcell officials said they will get back to this reporter after their meeting but to no avail. Gamcel’s Public Relations Officer Abdoulie Bass, said he was on leave and was not aware of PURA’s findings.