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Illegal Sim-cards Infuriate as Criminals Terrorise Kampala

The Uganda government has ordered a deeper investigation into the issuance of unauthorised sim-cards which criminals are using to wreak havoc in the country.

This followed security concerns that kidnappers were using these illegal sim-cards to obtain ransom from relatives of their victims.

The kidnappers of Susan Magara, a Kampala business lady, used several telephone lines to seek a ransom of $1m from her relatives.

She was later killed and body dumped along the Southern Bypass on Tuesday.

The poor registration and issuance of sim-cards has made it almost impossible to trace and arrest the perpetrators of these crimes:

Cabinet on Monday discussed and noted with “great concern” reports of illegal simcards still active in the market and being used by criminals to hide identity.

The Minister of ICT and National Guidance Hon Frank Tumwebaze says briefed cabinet that the Uganda Communications Commission (UCC) had been directed to commence investigations into how some alleged Airtel numbers were obtained with wrong or forged identities by suspected criminals.

Cabinet directed Tumwebaze to investigate Telecommunication Companies that registered Simcards with wrong Information with a view of “taking strong punitive measures” against them if “found uncompliant with government’s standing policy of having all simcards registered before issuance with the use of a National Identity card for Nationals.”

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UCC boss Eng Godfrey Mutabazi recently said investigations into the matter were underway and that some suspects had been arrested.

In a letter dated February 20, UCC Executive Director Eng Godfrey Mutabazi asked Airtel Uganda to furnish the Commission with a “detailed report” regarding particulars of the sim-cards which security say are used by criminals.

The Airtel lines being used by criminals in Mobile Money fraud and criminals seeking ransom from relatives of kidnapped civilians are 0754726842, 0759590647, 0759590674, 0751229471, 0759259730, 0751115388, 0751229473, 0751517819, 0759249058, 0753447942, 0752410752, and 0752281308.

Officials told this investigative website that Airtel’s failure to manage the issuance of its sim-cards was aiding criminals to terrorize the citizens using the telecommunications network and disappearing without trace.

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