A blind Zambian journalist has been arraigned in court charged with accessing Airtel Zambia’s database before siphoning mobile airtime worth thousands of dollars from several officials of the government.
According to ITWebAfrica, Jairos Tembo, 24, used an unknown software to access the telco’s database before committing a number of other crimes.
Tembo was charged with 14 counts of theft, from Zambian Defence Minister Geoffrey Mwamba and Foreign Affairs Minister Given Lubinda among others, valued at K18 million (US$3,500).
Several victims whose airtime “mysteriously disappeared” launched complaints with the telco.
While testifying against Tembo, Foreign Affairs Minister Given Lubinda said he had tried changing his SIM card on several occasions as his airtime kept disappearing.
“On every occasion, I ended up without money in my phone. It is difficult to be exact on how much I lost but it’s approximately US$400,” Lubinda said.
Muvi Television chief executive Steve Nyirenda also testified in the case, claiming he lost airtime worth nearly US$3,000 to the siphoning, and “it was not until he launched complaints with Airtel Zambia did Tembo get arrested”.
Other affected customers also claimed that their calls had been jammed, something that they failed to understand.
The extent of the siphoning is yet to be fully established as investigations into the matter are still ongoing. Airtel Zambia is yet to comment publicly on the issue.
Tembo denied the charges, and the case continues.