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Cameroon Orders MTN, Orange to Implement Mobile Payment ID

Cameroon has ordered MTN and Orange to implement ID checks for all parties involved in mobile money transactions after it emerged that ransom payments had been made using their transfer services.

Agence Cameroun Presse reports that Paul Atanga Nji, Cameroon’s minister of territorial administration, estimated that in the past four months, ransom payments worth around XAF540 million ($916,064) had been paid via the services. Nji declined to mention how much of the total had been transferred via either service.

He observed that the payments were typically made by users in Cameroon’s English-speaking communities in the country’s north-west and south-west, and were paid in response to demands from separatists.

Transactions made between users of the same service are automatically logged as both users must be registered in order to use the service, and the money is transferred directly between accounts. The identification issue relates transactions between different services; in these instances, users receive a code which is redeemable via an agent’s outlet.

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This can make it difficult to trace the source or recipient of a transaction. Nji has given MTN and Orange 45 days to impose mandatory identification processes for both senders and recipients of money transfers. Both operators are reportedly in favour of the order.

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