Buganda road Magistrates court has convicted four of six men accused of using the so called GSMA Gateway machine (sim box) to interfere and interrupt international calls, which caused Telecom companies and Government to make losses.
These were charged among others with operating a telecom apparatus without a license and Electronic fraud by Grade One Magistrate Marion Mangeni.
Some of the suspects pleaded guilty to the charges, while others denied them.
One of the suspects Mutyaba Edward, 32, admitted to have operated a sim box machine which caused a loss of Shs 48.4 million shillings to MTN Uganda and a 28 million revenue loss to Government of Uganda
Court heard that between June 2019 and January 2020, Mutyaba with others at large within Kampala, used the GSMA gateway machine to interrupt international calls and have them billed as local calls.
Counsel Abdul Salaam Waiswa, a prosecutor from Uganda Communications Commission (UCC) asked the trial Magistrate to grant the convicts a deterrent sentence because offences of this nature have become rampant.
The lawyer also argued that acquisition of such a machine, made the accused a danger to society.
“That machine encourages theft of mobile phones containing sim cards and at times in the process the owners die because of severe injuries obtained. It accommodates many sim cards and by the time of arrest it had 10 functional sim cards which upon investigations it was revealed that they were stolen from innocent Ugandans.”
On his part, Defense counsel Gawaya Tegulle asked the magistrate to grant the convict a non-custodial sentence of a fine, this being a commercial matter and the fact that Mutyaba did not waste court’s time.
The magistrate set 27th January as the date to deliver her sentence.
In the same vein, Kavuma Ben, 25, a resident Mutungo Nakawa division while appearing before Grade One Magistrate Stella Amabirisi, pleaded guilty to the same charges of Electronic fraud and operating without a license from UCC
Kagulire Ibrahim and Musasizi Dennis also pleaded guilty to the charges, while Bangie Maxie and Lubega Ezra denied the charges.