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Zamtel blocks “illegal” top up cards, refunds customers

Kennedy Mambwe addressing media during a briefing at Zamtel House

Zamtel has moved quickly to reassure its customers after reports resurfaced regarding the presence of some scratch cards suspected to have landed on the market through unofficial channels.

The company has announced that it has started a process of replacing or swapping the affected scratch cards which have since been blocked.
Zamtel Corporate Communications Manager Kennedy Mambwe explained that customers who may have purchased blocked scratch cards will be given a replacement of the same value in a like-for-like swap.

Mr Mambwe has since encouraged affected Zamtel customers to visit any Zamtel outlet or report the issue to the Zamtel Contact Centre where a swap will be done upon verification.

He was speaking at a media briefing at Zamtel headquarters after reports emerged of the presence of illegal Zamtel scratch cards on the market.

“We have blocked a range of scratch cards in the range of denominations of K2, K5 and K10 which we suspect may have hit the market through unofficial channels which came to our attention and is a matter of concern to us. We needed to isolate the serial numbers of the affected scratch cards in question and ensure that we block them to drill down to the source of the cards,” Mr Mambwe stated.

“If we allow cards that are deemed to be illegal on the market, it dilutes the value chain and we needed to act and act quickly via SMS, radio and newspaper notices. Some customers have bought and it’s a huge inconvenience for them. We have put in measures that the scratch cards can be swapped so that we don’t inconvenience them further. The investigations have continued and the isolation of the cards is part of evidence gathering.”

Mr Mambwe has also confirmed that Zamtel is working with law enforcement agencies to investigate the matter.

“We are working with law enforcement agencies and as soon as we conclude the investigations, we will notify the public through the press.”

He added, “There are some figures going round that the talk time is worth a certain amount. We are yet to quantify the volumes because this is a subject of investigations and we would not want to preempt the investigations.”

Mr. Mambwe further refuted some online media reports that the scratch cards suspected to have gotten onto the market illegally were manufactured at a backyard facility.

He stressed that the said scratch cards are authentic Zamtel produced cards that landed on the market through unofficial channels.

“This is authentic talk time from Zamtel and it is produced at a huge cost. We have taken these stringent measures to get to the bottom of the matter. Anyone found to have been involved, be it internal or external, they will have to deal with the law and not with Zamtel because it borders on criminality. This is a matter of public interest because Zamtel is a public institution,” Mr. Mambwe said.