Recent revelations that Dr Peter Magombeyi received threats before being abducted have set the internet ablaze with certain people calling on Econet to reveal the identity of who sent these threatening texts to the missing Doctor.
The message sent read:
Usazoti I did not warn u. Ramba uchiita nharo. Uchatorwa nechamupupuri. We are getting close now.
We reached out to a lawyer who explained that the Interception of Communications Act clearly describes the role of the mobile network operators and how they could aid investigations such as the one concerning Dr Magombeyi.
There are authorised people who can apply for a warrant of interception and the Minister of State Security (who said they are investigating the issue) and the ZRP Commissioner are among those eligible to apply.
Once the warranty has been issued, the investigating parties can then approach mobile networks or in this case Econet specifically and the mobile network will be obliged to release the identity of the individual suspected of crime. Not only would they be able to release the identity but also details such as the location of the suspected individual when the message was sent.
A service provider who fails to give assistance in terms of this section shall be guilty of an offence and liable to a fine not exceeding level twelve or to imprisonment for a period not exceeding three years or to both such fine and such imprisonmentInterception of Communications Act
What all this means is that, if Econet is approached by law enforcement agencies, then they are obliged to reveal all these details but if not then they can’t just publicly announce who the number belongs to or give it to authorities who have not sought the number or presented a warranty to that effect.