The National Bank of Cambodia says it will take action after the Kingdom’s largest mobile operator, Mobitel, launched a money-transfer service without applying for central bank oversight.
Under a prakas issued by the NBC on August 27 this year, the bank must oversee credit remittances – such as money-transfer services provided by mobile-phone companies.
According to NBC officials, Mobitel’s Cellcard Cash service was launched on September 20 without the filing of an application.
Yesterday, NBC director general Tal Nay Im weighed into the controversy by stating that the bank “will apply our law”.
Although she declined to comment on what action the central bank was considering, she did not rule out legal action against the market leader.
“I cannot tell you yet [what action we will take], but we have to do something,” she said.
Every player in the domestic mobile money-transfer business should comply with the prakas, she said.
Mobitel’s competitors have complied with regulations.
ANZ Bank’s WING money-transfer service and ACLEDA’s Unity mobile banking are operating under NBC oversight.
Mobitel Chief Executive Officer David Spriggs declined to comment on the issue, but operations manager Kay Lot has said that the company did not consider mobile-money transfers to be banking.
He could not be reached for comment on Wednesday.
Chairman of Mobitel’s parent company Royal Group, Kith Meng, said he was “unaware” of the issue and that he was in a meeting.
Chief Financial Officer of Royal Group, Mark Hanna, declined to comment.
Mobitel established the Cellcard Cash service after receiving a grant from the GSM Association’s Mobile Money for the Unbanked initiative in May.
The programme is largely funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.
(source from the Phnom Penh post newspaper, Wednesday, 13 October 2010 21:31 Jeremy Mullins)