SOE Committee voices concern over multiple SIM registrations to foreigners

Members of the Parliamentary Committee on State-Owned Enterprises (SOEs) have criticized government agencies for failing to resolve the issue of 38,000 SIMs being registered to 12 foreigners.

The SOE Committee of the Parliament Monday discussed the concerns raised by the police, the central bank Maldives Monetary Authority (MMA), and the national bank, the Bank of Maldives (BML), regarding scams in the Maldives. The SOE committee began investigating scam cases after multiple complaints of money being withdrawn fraudulently from peoples' bank accounts.

SOE Committee Chairman and Hulhudhoo MP Ilyas Labeeb said the biggest issue identified in a report submitted to the SOE Committee by the police was the use of a large number of SIMs registered to a single person.

The police report to the SOE committee highlighted cases where more than 800 SIMs were registered to a single foreigner, more than 24,000 SIMs were registered to two foreigners, and 38,000 SIMs were registered to 12 foreigners.

MP Iluas said scam calls are being made from Maafushi Prison and that the police and the Communications Authority are working together to prevent it. He said the fact that phones are being smuggled into the jail was very worrisome.

The MP further said the only action taken to prevent scam calls is to install an antenna and block calls through the antenna. However, he said more action is needed to address and resolve the issue adequately.

Keyodhoo MP Hussain Gasim said registering multiple sims to one person must be stopped. While most of these SIMS are used to commit crimes, he said almost all of them are still active. However, the Communications Authority still has not given instructions on what to do with such SIMs, he said, adding that it was a huge concern.

According to the MMA, 1,450 cases of scam calls were reported in the Maldives last year.