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Cameroon mobilises software to curb fraud frenzy

By , Freelance Investigative Journalist
Cameroon , 12 Oct 2021

Cameroon’s National Agency for Information and Communication Technologies (ANTIC) has rolled out Doc Authentic, a comprehensive software package that will be incorporated in the information management systems of public and private institutions in the country.

The software features a digital signature component to maintain the integrity and security of official documents as fraud continues to threaten government infrastructure.

Following its successful pilot in 2020 at Afriland First Bank, the Ministry of Public Contracts, Cameroon Online Procurement System and Single Window for Foreign Trade Operations platforms also uses the software, according to ANTIC.

Counterfeit documents in the country are often detected through manual verification processes by end users. However, this process is prone to error, is labour intensive and time-consuming.

Director General of ANTIC Prof. Ebot Ebot Enaw said the detection process going forward will be a lot easier thanks to key security services including authentication of users, integrity of documents and non-repudiation of signatories.

Enaw said, “In the world of cryptography, these security services serve as matrices for measuring the security of cryptographic protocols and digital signatures. By providing these services, our solution offers some assurance to online users as to the safety of their online transactions and interactions and as such helps build trust and confidence in this space necessary for the growth and development of the digital economy.”

He explained that Doc Authentic secures official documents by getting them digitally signed, generating a QR code in the process which is inserted in the particular document. The authenticity of the signed document can then be verified by scanning the QR code using a smartphone.

Doc Authentic is considered a response to the rising production and use of fake documents in public service business.

The Public Contracts Regulatory Agency released a list of 567 companies which had used counterfeit documents including fake registration certificates and taxpayer credentials to bid for public contracts in 2013.

Similarly, in January and August 2021, two separate gangs were arrested and charged with forgery and counterfeiting. The gangs had been arrested in Yaounde in possession of hundreds of fake documents including birth certificates, national identity card receipts, academic certificates, car registration certificates and driving licences.

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