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NCA steps back blames telcos unlawful blocking of fully-registered SIM cards

The National Communications Authority (NCA) has said it will not accept blame for the unlawful blocking of SIM cards that have already been fully re-registered.

Althoughit has empathised with subscribers affected by the blockage, the NCA stressed that telecom operators should bear the full responsibility for the situation.

The NCA’s Director of Legal Affairs, Dr Poku Adusei, noted that it is an error for such subscribers to have their SIM functions restricted since they do not fall within the purview of the punitive measures announced.

There has been widespread complaints that SIM cards that have been fully re-registered have been blocked as part of sanctions imposed for failure to comply with a government’s directive.

This has led to chaos at registration centres.

“The directive was that if you have not gone through the two-staged process to register, certain sanctions could be applied to you but, in applying the sanctions, it is possible there could be an overreach.

“In that case, that would not be our instruction that there should be that overreach because we don’t control the networks which are in the private hands of the operators,” Dr Adusei observed.

The NCA has already been dragged to the Supreme Court over the issue.

In a writ issued on Friday, September 9, a pressure group known as The People’s Project (TPP) said the exercise is being done capriciously.

It wants the Supreme Court to, among other reliefs, declare the deadline and the associated punitive measures null and void.

Meanwhile, the National Democratic Congress (NDC) has urged Parliament to call the Minister of Communications and the NCA to order.

“It is an indisputable fact that the re-registration of mobile SIM cards policy and its attendant sanctions that are being meted out to Ghanaians by the Ministry of Communications and the National Communications Authority are neither backed by the SIM Registration Regulations, 2011 (L.I 2006) nor the National Identity Register Regulations, 2012 (L.I 2111) or any law in force in the country.

“The decision by these entities to restrict the SIM Cards of Ghanaians including those who have already re-registered their SIM Cards is therefore unlawful, irresponsible and unacceptable to say the least,” part of the statement signed by General Secretary Johnson Asiedu Nketia read.

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