MACRA steps up efforts to limit cases of fraud

By Chisomo Phiri

As one way of limiting cases of fraud, Malawi Communications Regulatory Authority (MACRA) says it has revised the SIM card regulations that will require re-registration of all SIM cards and handsets so that they should be linked to biometric print and  National Identity Cards.

MACRA Director General Daud Suleman made the announcement on Thursday during the official opening of a digital financing security clinic.


Suleman said the system will not allow any person who wants to register more than ten SIM cards and that it will automatically shut down any handset involved in fraud activities.

He said:”Further to that, we are also rolling out a system that we call Central Equipment Identify Register.

“The system will register all handsets against national identity cards against a person. It will also set a limit of registration to ten SIM cards per person,” he said.

The MACRA Director General  said in Malawi, about 12.4 million people are conducting financial  transactions through mobile services provided by banks and mobile money network operators hence the need to strengthen security.

“The more the people are being exposed to this, the higher the danger and risk.  So, it is important for us as a telecoms regulator to work closely with the finance services regulator which is the Reserve Bank of Malawi and players such as banks and mobile money service providers so that together we can find ways and means of strengthening security thereby encouraging more Malawians to embrace digitalisation,” he said.

On his part, International Telecommunications Union(ITU) programme coordinator Vijay Mauree cautioned the public against using unsecured Wifi networks when conducting financial transactions so as they protect themselves from mobile money fraudsters.

He said: “When you are using unsecure wifi, information is sent in an insecure manner and someone might access information on your mobile without you knowing or send you a remote USSD that could be executed without you being aware and they might be able to transfer money from your mobile money account to theirs. So only use wifi that is using an encryption, to secure your information.”

Mauree described the digital financial service security clinic workshop as important saying it will help in addressing challenges such as sim swap fraud, vulnerabilities existing on sim cards and how to secure payment applications among others.

The workshop is being held under the theme: Addressing Security Risks to Digital Finance Ecosystem’.

International Telecommunications Union(ITU) programme coordinator Vijay Mauree