, NAIROBI, Kenya, Oct 8 – The Communications Commissions of Kenya (CCK) has initiated investigations following reports of persons who are illegally reprogramming already blocked fake mobile phones to function.
CCK Director General Francis Wangusi said the illegal business started last week after the completion of the black-listing, with indication the illegal reprogramming is thriving in Nairobi’s River Road area.
Speaking at a forum in Nairobi on Monday, Wangusi warned that any person found doing the illegal business will be charged in court.
“We have sensitised everyone that it is illegal to sell such equipment in the country. We have even deactivated them from the networks but if they can still go ahead and try to perpetuate it, they will face the law. We will not be lenient to them… we will deal with them accordingly,” Wangusi warned.
He added that vendors who were had stocked fake handsets are trying to reprogram them to be able to sell them.
He has however urged Kenyans whose sets were blocked to buy genuine phones adding that CCK will be able to know a reprogrammed phone.
“It cost no more to buy a genuine phone than to go and buy a reprogrammed fake phone. If you do the latter, you risk more in that you are losing money and you risk your health. We may have many vendors who had ordered many fake phones and they are now looking for an opportunity to make them look genuine,” Wangusi said.
On the issue of having any genuine phones blocked, Wangusi clarified by saying that any genuine phone which was blocked means that it was initially never meant to be sold or get into the market, but to be used by service providers.
“Yes, there were handsets that were meant for testing and actually they happened to find themselves in the market. These handsets are not supposed to be continuously on the network, but to be used for some time by the mobile operators to test their various services,” Wangusi added.
Some 1.4 million fake mobile handsets were blocked during the exercise.