Gamcel retakes control of hijacked billing system

Gamcel retakes control of hijacked billing system

Gambia’s state-owned cellular service provider has reacquired total control of its billing system, which had been hijacked by a third party contractor, a senior official said.

Gamcel’s bill system was abruptly shut down by the Swiss-based MGI after Gambia’s government nixed its contract to collect international calling termination fees.

MGI in retaliation hijacked Gamcel’s billing system, forcing the company to bypass the system by giving their customer free calling and data services.

Gambia’s government had said it took the attack as a deliberate attempt to sabotage the national communication system of the country, which is a clear threat to national security.

Gamcel customers were for weeks unable to recharge to use their phones to make calls or browse the internet, prompting the override.

Gamcel lost millions from the glitch, which started in mid-August. Government enterprises are in a financial crisis, and the state is frantically trying to neutralize the situation.

Gambian authorities have accused MGI and its former President Yahya Jammeh of mismanaging the funds generated from the international gateway. Jammeh has fled to the country and a commission is probing him on corruption allegations.

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