Zim Loses $326m Through Card-Cloning Crimes

Zimbabwe has lost $325,607,070 from January 2018 to April 2019 as a result of card cloning, cybercrime statistics by the Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP) has revealed.

According to the ZRP statistics, 9 165 arrests have been made during the period under review.

Zimbabwe Information and Communication Technology Division (ZICT) Chairperson Engineer Jacob Mutisi said a report received by his Division from the ZRP showed that law enforcers are not well equipped with the right tools to persecute cyber criminals.

“In their (ZRP) report they were quoting sections from the Criminal Law (Codification and Reform) Act referred to as the CODE which was last amended in March 2007, when cyber crimes were not growing rapidly. Using the CODE the ZRP has not able to breakdown the cyber security Crimes as requested because they are not covered in the CODE,” he said.

“It is without a doubt that our police force is not equipped with the right laws to fight modern day Cyber Security Crimes,”.

The ZICT has therefore urged the government to fast track the enactment of the cyber bill.

“There is now a need for the Government of Zimbabwe to fully implement the Computer Crime and Cyber Security Bill and urgently engage the stakeholders to immediately amend the CODE so that it can address modern day crimes,”

“The Zimbabwean parliament needs to adopt the effective substantive criminal legislation and procedural instruments that allow for the law enforcement agencies to fully investigate and prosecute for the misuse of the internet, electronic and mobile money devices to commit a crime,” he said.

Other cyber crimes the ZICT have also taken note of that require immediate attention include phishing, hacking,  mobile money fraud, illegal SIM swaps, spreading hate and inciting terrorism and identity theft.

Cyber crimes are a growing concern for governments and nations, the Zimbabwean government has been pushing for universal access of the Internet, encouraging the use of social media and pushing for the use of digital e-governance service.

However, the Cyber Bill is currently before the parliament.

Read full ZRP report here

Kazembe Officiates Mpandawana Information Centre

Minister of Information Communication Technology ,Postal and Courier Services Honorable Kazembe Kazembe officially opened the Mpandawana Information Centre on Friday in Masvingo, as part of efforts to develop telecommunication standards and remain competitive in the ICT-driven global economy.

The launch comes at a time when the world is commemorating the 50th World Telecommunications and Information Society Day and Mpandawana was chosen on a rotational basis meant to ensure inclusivity of all provinces nationwide.

Speaking during the official launch Minister Kazembe said going digital is the future and that digitisation is no longer a matter of choice or demonstration of opulence rather it is much needed for socio-economic growth.

“It is up to us to ensure that to ensure that the current wave of industrial revolution does not leave us behind. It is up to us to ensure that the digital divide is bridged and that the future is smart- smart agriculture, smart mining, smart Health, smart grid and smart communities” he said.

Minister Kazembe encouraged local people to utilize the information centre and facilities that are there which include computers, printers and gaming stations.

Potraz Director General, Dr Gift Machengete urged the Mpandawana community to invest on digital agenda and prioritize critical reforms in the ICT sector.

“Among the most important things to be done, is to increase investment on the digital agenda and prioritize critical reforms in the ICT sector as this would lead to an exponential growth in GDP” Dr Machengete said.

Dr Machengete said as Potraz, they will make sure that no citizens are left behind, even those in rural areas must be part of this digital era.In addition, they will achieve this through setting up more containerized village information centres which will be equipped with computers and other facilities to educate locals in ICTs.

Educational institutions have a vital role to play in the ICT sector, and the Regulator has implored these institutions to focus more on teaching critical thinking than rote learning focusing more on future jobs from programming and coding, to advanced technology like artificial intelligence, robotics and virtual reality.

The event, also saw the opening of Zimpost’s newly-renovated Gutu Post Office, which has since been divided to create space for a computer lab, printers and scanners that will be used for surfing the internet at lower rates.

Zim Needs 350 More Base Stations: Potraz

The country needs 350 more base stations so that it will have adequate network coverage, the Postal and Telecommunications Regulatory Authority of Zimbabwe (Potraz) has said.

Speaking at the World Communication and Information Society Day commemorations briefing in Gutu yesterday, Potraz director-general Gift Machengete said the country currently has 7 863 base stations and plans were afoot to court investors to build more and bridge the gap.

“Three hundred and fifty stations are needed to cover other grey areas. We are looking for investors to invest in those areas. We negotiating with those who can help us so that everywhere we have network,” he said.

Machengete said through the Universal Services Fund, Potraz had erected 20 base stations across the country.

World Communication and Information Society Day is commemorated on May 17 and this year, it was celebrated under the theme Bridging the Standardisation Gap.

Masvingo province has 581 base stations, but they are not sufficient, Machengete said, adding 12 Zimpost offices were renovated to become community centres in Masvingo province and four of those were containerised village information centres offering training facilities.

Cumulatively, 146 community centres have been set up across the country.

Machengete said at least 24 containerised community information centres had been set up as pilot projects across the country.

“We are about to roll out the project in full swing across the country, which will have computers for research and training purposes,” he said.

The Potraz DG added that at least 720 laptops were distributed through the “connect a school” programme in Masvingo.

Masvingo Provincial Affairs minister Ezra Chadzamira said Mwenezi district had a huge population, but did not have sufficient base stations.

He said Mwenezi, Zaka and Chiredzi had the worst network coverage in the province.

Chadzamira said in rural constituencies, there were a lot of unoccupied houses that needed to be converted into community centres.

“We cannot develop without the ICT ministry for us to have an upper-middle class by 2030. We can capacitate our universities to produce computers locally than rely on imports,” he said.

ICT minister Kazembe Kazembe acknowledged the need to invest in increasing network coverage in the country.

“We are having discussions to see how best we can have this solved. We are talking with the Potraz director-general so that can we bring investors who can come and build base stations to operate and transfer,” he said.

Kazembe, who also commissioned a community information centre at Gutu centre, said government had put ICT at the top of its agenda to catch up with the rest of the world.

He said innovation hubs were being put in place in universities to equip students with the ability to solve the country’s problems.

The event was graced by Mines minister Winston Chitando, who is also Gutu Central legislator, Labour deputy minister Lovemore Matuke, local MPs and telecom executives.


Econet, NetOne Sign Infrastructure Sharing Agreement

Econet Wireless Zimbabwe and NetOne, the country’s two largest mobile network operators (MNOs) by coverage, have entered into an infrastructure sharing agreement to widen the availability of ICT services to Zimbabweans.

In a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signed by the Chief Executive Officers of the two operators, the companies commit to sharing infrastructure in a move that is set to further increase coverage and quality of service delivery.

“The parties shall identify the infrastructure to be shared and agree on the site-sharing arrangements for each site,” says part of the MoU, signed on April 22, 2019.

“We are happy to have signed this agreement, something we have wanted to do in a very long time,” said Econet Wireless CEO Mr Douglas Mboweni.

“We consider this to be a very fair arrangement and believe it represents a giant step in our collective endeavour to bring connectivity and ICT services to all Zimbabweans,” Mr Mboweni said.

“This agreement allows NetOne and Econet to optimize the utilization of scarce foreign currency as it eliminates the duplication of infrastructure. This is a watershed agreement which supports Vision 2030 which is to create a middle-income status economy, through improved accessibility of ICTs across the country,” NetOne CEO Mr Lazarus Muchenje said.

The MoU defines the site-sharing parameters between the two operators, including arrangements relating to the sharing of towers, commercial and backup power supply, backhaul transmission and security at the shared sites, among other things.

The landmark agreement is set to benefit millions of customers of the two operators through increased network coverage. It will help reduce infrastructure capital investment expenses and lower operational costs for the two telcos which, in the long run, will increase efficiencies.

Both Econet and NetOne serve more than 90 percent of the country’s nearly 13 million active mobile network subscribers.