Zim man accused of intercepting 7 000 Econet calls from China

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A 26-YEAR-OLD Chitungwiza man, Talent Muguta, yesterday appeared at the Harare Magistrates’ Court facing allegations of unlawfully operating an Internet café and providing telecommunication services during which time he intercepted more than 7 000 calls from China.

Muguta, whose business address was given as Zimbabwe Open University offices in Harare, was granted $50 bail and remanded to July 27 pending further investigations.

Magistrate Rumbidzai Mugwagwa heard that sometime between May 19 and 23 this year, Muguta, who had no operating licence from the Postal and Telecommunication Regulatory Authority of Zimbabwe, unlawfully operated an Internet café along George Silundika Avenue.

The State alleges Muguta also provided telecommunication services to people from China who intended to call Econet subscribers. It is alleged Muguta had software which could allow him to accept calls from China on Tel-One lines, which he converted to local calls before forwarding them to Econet subscribers.

According to the State, 7 000 calls were made from China and Econet was paid only for local calls whereas in actual fact they were international calls that were supposed to be paid at the rate of 50 cents per call to Econet and not six cents which is charged per minute for local calls.

Muguta allegedly converted international calls to local calls, thereby causing a $1 150 prejudice to Econet Wireless Zimbabwe.

The matter came to light when Econet noted the high volume of traffic of phone calls which were made to their subscribers, prompting them to launch an investigation which led to the discovery of the offence.

Econet and police investigation teams went to Muguta’s offices and recovered the equipment which Muguta was allegedly using to commit the offence.

Linda Gadzikwa appeared for the State.

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