We're Not Swindling Ghanaians - MTN

Telecommunications giant, Mobile Telecommunication Network (MTN) - Ghana, has debunked claims that its Mobile Money platform has been turned into a milking cow, thus shortchanging Ghanaians.

MTN Mobile Money's Senior Commercial Manager, Eli Hini, during a visit to The Chronicle yesterday denied any wrong doing on the part of MTN, explaining that what the outfit was doing was rather sanitizing and systematizing transactions on the platform.

Last week, The Chronicle reported that some MTN Mobile Money subscribers were seriously worried and displeased about the way and manner the telecommunication giant had been blocking their accounts without prior prompting.

According to some of the customers, per the report which was published on October 1, 2015, their mobile money wallets had been blocked for well over a month and that, all efforts to get them unblocked had proved futile.

Answering a question to that effect, Mr. Hini disclosed that the blocked accounts belonged to individuals who wrongfully received deposits in their wallets and were unwilling to refund them to the original intended recipients.

He indicated that when issues of such nature arise, what MTN does is to contact the wrongful recipients of the money and cordially impress upon them to return the money. Failure to cooperate, he said, would warrant the blocking of the said wallet, in order to prevent the wrongly received money from being withdrawn.

Explaining how the Mobile Money system works, Mr. Hini mentioned that the process begins with a customer registering or requesting for a Mobile Money wallet. What would happen immediately after that, according to him, would be to load the wallet to commence transaction.

He also pointed out that unregistered customers could also transact business on the mobile money platform, using the token system. He said all that would be required from that person would be for him to identify himself or herself to the agent as an unregistered customer.


"This type of transaction is called non-wallet transaction or token transaction and for this type of transaction, you just tell the agent how much you want to send. The agent will transact from his or her phone and then you will be required at some stage to provide a pin. And the agent by the training, should hand over the phone to the customer to enter his or her own 4 digit pin," he revealed.

Once the agent completes the transactions, Mr. Hini told The Chronicle, he or she then provides the customer the system generated number called the token, which he would use during withdrawal.

Worrying trend

The prescribed process, notwithstanding, MTN, he revealed, had noticed a worrying trend which if not halted, would collapse the Mobile Money business. This has got to do with non-registered customers disguising themselves as registered subscribers to transact business on the platform.

He said this sort of transaction was having a telling effect on the operation of the company, which needed immediate redress.

Also, he said as a result of these sort of transactions, MTN as a company was having huge issues of reversals, adding that "reversing the transactions requires a lot of effort and time.

So we said that since this was also harming the business, it was time to clamp down on it, because first of all it is not a permitted business transaction and now it is creating problems."

System-wise, he stated the trend should have been restricted, "but agents are educated to understand these things and take the necessary steps,... so if you go to our agent, you cannot come putting money on the wireless, under the disguise of wireless transfer."