The cartel which previously held republican presidents and ministers hostages has now infiltrated telecommunication companies, leading to phone bugging and illegal sale of conversations of prominent people in society to their adversaries, the Daily Nation has learnt.
It is understood that the release of the telephone conservation between Information Minister Chishimba Kambwili and Kabwe district commissioner Chanda Kabwe was just a tip of the Iceberg, as the cartel has enough of the recordings involving ministers, presidential aides and other prominent citizens which it hopes to unleash towards elections to embarrass the Head of State.
Zambia Republican Party (ZRP) president Wright Musoma has said the illegal hacking of private telephonae conversations should not be allowed to continue as it is a security risk.
He said thorough investigations must commence into the cell phone bugging equipment which the cartel is using on those in Government to tap, record and misrepresent their calls.
And sources within the cartel have told the Daily Nation that the group is using a very sophiscated cell phone bugging system using equipment and expertise acquired during the “state capture” period when it ran Governmnet under late president Michael Sata.
The sources told the Daily Nation that the equipment to record phone calls for those who were targeted by the cartel was purchased during Mr. Sata’s reign and that the system is so complicated that not even the Zambia State Intelligence Service (ZSIS) can cramp it down.
“The cartel is operating a highly sophisticated cell phone bugging system using equipment and expertise acquired during the ‘state capture’ period when they ran Government under Mr. Sata. Not even the ZSIS’s Special Branch can match the sophistication of the system which can eavesdrop on the phone and data at will.
“All their operatives are bugged and every conversation recorded and that is how Finance Minister Alexander Chikwanda and many others have been recorded without suspecting anything. Remember the story of Bashi Nono? That is the same system they are using- listening to all kinds of conversations and using the material for their own benefit,” a telecommunication source said.
Mr. Musoma said it was wrong for anyone to think that they were above the law by committing offences on purpose just to test the powers that be.
“There is no way you can allow the cartel to continue tapping peoples’ conversations without doing anything. Today, you may think that it is only Mr. Kambwili and a few others who are victims yet all of us are at risk of having our calls tapped with impunity and this is why we are saying a thorough investigation should be instituted immediately so that this is stopped once and for all because it is not right.
And National Revolution Party (NRP ) president Cosmo Mumba has said the Government security system and the telephone regulator should investigate the tapping of phone conversations of high profile citizens by the Post Newspaper and their subsequent uploading on social media.
He said the Zambia State Intelligence Service, Zambia Information and Communications Technology Authority (ZICTA) and the police should quickly find a solution.
Dr Mumba in an interview yesterday said that it was worrying that the system had been infiltrated by a ‘’group of crooks’’ who were now tapping private phone conversations of politicians and selling them to social media to scandalise their names for the purpose of gaining money and tarnishing their political aspirations.
“The Government intelligence system, the police, Zambia Information and Communications Technology Authority (ZICTA) should not go to sleep but investigate the tapping of private phone conversations of high profile citizens. The system has been infiltrated by crooks who sell the recordings to the social media,” he said.
He said that there were some crooks in the system that were making a lot of money by selling phone conversations of high profile politicians and citizens to the social media so that they scandalise their names.
Dr Mumba said the process of lodging a complaint for phone tapping and concluding investigations by relevant authorities was cumbersome and charged that the system had gone to sleep.