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Wednesday, Aug 21st

Kenyan govt threatens telecom CEOs with arrest


Kenya’s government has warned that it could arrest chief executives of local mobile phone operators over unregistered SIM card sales.

The disconnection deadline for unregistered SIMs in Kenya was on December 31, 2012.

But in a report by Kenya’s Standard Digital, the country’s government, the Communications Commission of Kenya (CCK) and police said on Monday that they have arrested agents for selling unregistered SIMs.

The report said the agents allegedly failed to ask for personal details when selling the cards and that some of them even sold pre-activated SIMs.

The country’s SIM registration process is intended to curb criminal and even terrorist activities.

And following the terror attack by Somalia’s al Shabaab militants on the up-market Westgate mall in Nairobi late last month, Kenya’s government is under pressure to illustrate that it is taking security seriously.

“I have instructed CCK to take action against the operators,” said Kenya’s cabinet secretary Fred Matiang’i.

“The chief executives of these companies are criminally liable and they will be arrested,” he added.

CCK director general Francis Wangusi echoed Matiang’i’s comments.

“Operators allowing unregistered SIM cards on their networks have to immediately stop,” he said.

“The chief executives will be criminally liable and we will hand them over to the police,” he added.

According to CCK statistics, India’s Bharti Airtel has 385,000 unregistered subscribers in Kenya while Essar (also referred to as Yu) had 298,000 on September 26.

Meanwhile, Kenya’s inspector general of police, David Kimaiyo, said investigators are following leads regarding the use of communications equipment by al Shabaab militants regarding the Westgate mall attack.

Kimaiyo declined to disclose further details.


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