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SIM cards agents arrested

Police and the Communication Commission of Kenya moved to curb the sale of unregistered SIM cards.

Four mobile phone agents were arraigned in court on Tuesday and pleaded guilty to selling the cards contrary to the law. They were each fined Sh50,000 by Principal Magistrate Peter Ndwiga.

“On their plea of guilt, the accused are hereby fined Sh50,000 each or serve a six months jail term,” said the magistrate.

Fight crime

Police and CCK have linked unregistered SIM cards to the difficulty security organs face in their bid to arrest criminals in Nairobi and other parts of the country.

Last month’s attack on the Westgate Shopping Mall in Nairobi, where 67 people were killed, was allegedly coordinated using unregistered SIM cards. Police said this complicated efforts to arrest the suspects.

CCK has threatened to take legal action against mobile phone company Chief Executive Officers (CEOs ) for allowing people with unregistered SIM cards to make calls and send messages using their companies’ networks.

The CEOs targeted by CCK are Bob Collymore (Safaricom), Mickael Ghossein (Orange Telkom), Shivan Bhargava (Airtel) and Madhur Taneja (yuMobile Country Manager).

Two other agents Thomas Kanini and Paul Gitau denied the charges, insisting they sell SIM cards only after ensuring they are registered. They were each released on a Sh20, 000 cash bail.

Their case will be mentioned on October 23, 2013.

The ongoing crackdown on unlicensed cards is likely to cause panic, resulting in a cut back on sales which could affect mobile phone business.

CCK wants the mobile phone companies to come up with a module to register all the lines before they are released into the market.

Accessibility of the cards has been made easy by vendors for purchase by the public from between Sh20 to Sh100, depending on the company.