The Communications Authority of Kenya is sending out a warning to unregistered SIM card users to register them or face the law.
The regulatory authority issued the warning to the public as part of the measures aimed at tightening up security in the country. It also comes a few months before the 2017 general elections when mobile phones could be used to manipulate outcomes.
According to the Communications Authority, all mobile phone owners are responsible for calls, messages and m-pesa transactions made through their device.
It stressed that all unregistered SIM card must be registered because users may be guilty if their line is used to commit a crime.
At the same time, the Authority advised Kenyans against buying SIM cards from hawkers. It says that whoever sells a SIM card should ensure to capture all the details of the buyer for registration.
The Communications Authority Director General, Francis Wangusi said owners should also report any changes on SIM card particulars to service providers as soon as possible.
It stipulated that the failure to adhere to these precautions could result in a six-month prison sentence or a fine of KSh 100,000 or both in some cases.
Other offenses the Authority listed as attracting similar penalties include failing to report a lost sim card to a police station.
”New regulation will also apply to people allowing strangers to use their sim cards. This should not happen even when the stranger is in distress and requires assistance,” says the Authority in newspaper adverts.
The authority also introduced new regulations on multiple ownership of SIM cards. Each individual is now limited to having 10 active SIM cards.
With the rise of cases of extortion, kidnappings, and killings linked to mobile phones, the government is trying to curb such incidents.