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Briefing: Security System ‘Used to Spy on President Museveni’

This is Wednesday’s Morning Intelligence briefing on major events making news headlines in the region. For hot story tips please email us on info@chimpreports.com.

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Security System ‘Used to Spy on President Museveni’

Museveni’s telecommunications could have been compromised by the new security system

A security system installed at tune of $62m (Shs200bn) could have been used to spy on President Museveni, officials said on Wednesday.

The Global Voice Group (GVG) signed a contract with Uganda Police Force in 2016 to set up an international traffic monitoring and fraud management system for monitoring all financial transactions made via mobile devices in Uganda.

It was earlier agreed by Northern Corridor Partner States to fast-track procurement of a traffic monitoring system to detect and prevent fraudulent calls (Grey Traffic).

Uganda completed procurement and installation of the system last year.

The contract was signed by then Director of ICT Amos Ngabirano and Josephine Kasalamwa Wapakhabulo, a Ugandan ICT expert and business executive. She is currently the Chief Executive Officer of Uganda National Oil Company and a close friend of Ngabirano.

In short, the traffic monitoring system integrates into a single platform all the tools required to independently verify, measure and analyse the different types of traffic going through the telecommunications networks of a given country.

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This private network of telecom traffic data enables governments and relevant authorities to maintain full and real-time visibility over this vital sector of the economy.

The system structures the traffic information into Call Details Records (CDRs) and other data records, for a number of critical purposes related to telecommunications, including traffic measurement and billing, regulatory monitoring and enforcement, policy-making and national security analyses and investigations.

It also provides a powerful means to fight against different types of telecom fraud that adversely impact the traffic revenue, such as illegal termination of international calls (grey traffic or bypassing).

Officials told ChimpReports on condition of anonymity that Museveni’s intelligence organs now believe the system was used to spy on him.

GVG recently signed a contract with African Union to supply it with IT equipment and international integrated network management system (INMS).

The same system has since been installed in Rwanda.

“We have our reservations about this system and its intended use. We didn’t know how intrusive it was until recently,” said an official who preferred anonymity so as to speak freely.

“The system could have been used to tap the president’s conversations.”

Ngabirano has since fled to United Kingdom where he is a citizen.

Earlier before signing the contract, then IGP Gen Kale Kayihura and Ngabirano traveled to Rwanda where they toured the international telecom gateway verification centre at which verifies the amount of communication that enters Rwanda in real time.

““It’s amazing what you have achieved in a very short time and this is a testimony to the great leadership of this country,” said Kayihura.

It was a matter of time for the same system to be installed in Uganda.

Ugandan authorities were uncomfortable discussing this matter, saying it bordered on disclosing classified information.

But multiple contacts confirmed an investigation was underway to determine the extent of intrusion the system had on high level communications.

Suspected Iron Bar Hitman Arrested

The suspect is now in custody

Police have asked a man to account for dozens of motorcycle number plates in custody, Chimp Corps report.

“We have in custody a man suspected to be an iron bar hitman, one of the notorious gangs that target boda boda riders robbing them of their motorcycles,” said Kampala Metropolitan Police.

“This came after the suspect was found with a list of 18 number plates which he couldn’t account for.”

The suspect identified as Robert Okello was arrested by police in Amuriat with a brand new motorcycle with an old number plate registration number UEO 698K, a situation that raised suspicion among the residents who alerted the police.

Upon Okello’s arrest, Kampala police coordinated with its emergence response unit which confirmed that the motorcycle found in his possession was stolen and reported missing by Gerald Mubangizi, a resident of Kikaaya.

“We are questioning him to find more information that can help us neutralize these iron-bar hit men criminals,” said police on Wednesday.

“Our team liaised with URA (Uganda Revenue Authority) to ascertain the particulars of the rightful owners of these number plates and we found that many owners of these number plates had been killed by thieves, those alive confirmed that they are bed ridden and their motorcycles had been reported stolen.”

Law enforcement officers also discovered a list of 18 number plates saved the suspect’s phone.

They include: UEQ 770D, UEP 493V, UEN 987L, UEM 825X, UEL 994E, UEH 880Y, UEH 950X, UEO 981Z, UEQ 402H, UER 434F, UEL 846Y, UEO 402H, UEP 200K, and UEH 679Y.

Okello is currently detained at Kira Road Police Station and a case file CRB 18/2018 has been opened to help in investigations.

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