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Zambia police raid CEC Liquid Telecom

By , ITWeb’s Zambian correspondent.
Zambia , 20 Apr 2017

Zambia police raid CEC Liquid Telecom

The Zambia Information and Communication Technology Authority (ZICTA) and the State police this week raided CEC Liquid Telecom head office in Lusaka in search of what they suspected was phone tapping equipment.

ZICTA and law enforcement officials believe that the wholesale internet service provider had this equipment and was using it to eavesdrop on conversations between senior government officials.

The raid follows a leaked phone conversation between Special Assistant to the President for Press and Public relations Amos Chanda and the Inspector General of police Kakoma Kanganja in which Chanda was directing the police command to use maximum force when dealing with opposition political supporters.

This was after the police arrested Hakainde Hichilema, the leader of the main opposition United Party for National Development (UPND), and charged him with treason last week over an incident in which Hichilema's motorcade is alleged to have deliberately obstructed a presidential motorcade on a road in western province.

ZICTA and the police immediately launched investigations to establish who recorded and leaked the conversation.

Following the raid on CEC Liquid Telecom, ZICTA director for support services Mofya Chisala told the media that some equipment was confiscated during the operation.

"Forensic experts from ZICTA and Zambia police will examine the equipment before taking appropriate action. ZICTA is concerned that some IT companies are operating equipment that has not been standardised by ZICTA," Chisala said.

He added that ZICTA would also target other companies as part of the operation.

However, CEC Liquid Telecom has downplayed the raid saying it was part of ZICTA's compliance enforcement.

A statement from the company denies the raid had anything to do with phone tapping.

"We wish to state that the allegation linking the ZICTA visit to phone tapping and/or other activities as reported by some media is completely false and CEC Liquid Telecom is in no way connected to or affected by that," the company said.

It added that it operates in full compliance with all relevant laws and regulatory rules, and is cooperating fully with ZICTA to ensure swift resolution of the matter.

However, this week's raid was the second in just 7 months.

In October last year, CEC Telecom Liquid was raided on suspicion that it was hosting a server for a news site, the Zambian Watchdog that is critical of the government.

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