Buying a mobile phone SIM card from a hawker could land you in jail for six months or a fine of Sh100,000.
According to a notice by the Communication Authority of Kenya (CA) published in the dailies on Friday, buying of SIM cards from hawkers, as well as using a SIM card that is not registered, contravenes section 27c of the Kenya Communications Act, 1998.
“When buying a SIM card, demand that the vendor registers your particulars; provide a copy of your ID and ensure correct particulars are registered; report any change of your particulars as soon as possible to your provider for an update,” read the notice in part.
The authority also reminded users of the need to report loss of SIM cards to the police and avoid SIM card activity by third parties.
“If you lose your SIM card, report to the nearest police station as soon as possible and obtain an abstract; do not allow a stranger to use your SIM card. If a stranger is in distress and requires assistance, make the call yourself,” read the notice.
Defaulters will either be convicted to six months in prison or a fine of Sh100,000 or both.
The new rules are the recommendadtions of a task force that President Uhuru Kenyatta formed in October 2013 in the wake of the Westgate shopping mall terrorist attack that left 73 dead and 240 others injured.
The task force comprised of representatives from the ICT ministry, the Communication Authority and the four mobile telecom operators Safaricom, Airtel, Orange and yuMobile.
Police had said that the terrorists who attacked the Westgate mall may have used unregistered SIM cards to communicate with their collaborators, a move that prompted the summoning and grilling of the four CEOs.