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NIRA Grants FIA Access to Citizen’s Data to Reinforce Fight against Financial Crimes

The National Identification and Registration Authority (NIRA) has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Financial Intelligence Authority (FIA) giving FIA access to citizens’ national IDs as one of the ways to fight financial crimes including money laundering.

The event saw NIRA hand over four card readers to FIA to enable it carry out its activities with ease.

Brig Stephen Kwiringira Ag. Executive Director NIRA, in a speech presented by Agatha Acom Mutenyo, noted that the deal will help avoid duplication of resources and ensure efficiency in their operations.

“In line with the MOU therefore, NIRA commits to provide FIA with four card readers to enable FIA verify members National Identification Cards, provide training to twenty staff of FIA on the usage of  card readers and equip them with a Users’ Guide on the operation of the Card Readers among others,” Kwiringira said.

According to NIRA, the card readers provided have a system that reads all data contained on the national identity cards as well as a provision for thumbprints for verification.

Agatha Mutenyo, the Director of Finance and Administration at NIRA said that after several discussions between the two agencies, they decided to formalize the collaboration to enable each of the institutions execute its mandate.

“The provision for access and use of the information on the register is keeping in line with the intention of government to set up a centralized register of citizens and legal resident aliens that would constitute the primary source of information on a person’s identities,” Mutenyo said.

Acom further noted that FIA would purchase its own readers but as part of the deal, NIRA would hand the electronic card readers to help the Financial Intelligence Authority verify information provided by people interacting with the body instead of them buying their own.

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“It is agreed by both parties that real-time verification of national identification data received by FIA using card readers will enable the identification of all persons appearing before them, these machines will greatly help us in analyzing the information we get. It will help us get to know the identity of people behind suspicious transactions,” Sydney Asubo, the Financial Intelligence Authority Executive Director said.

“Identity goes beyond the name and date birth but also includes things like place of residence. Getting this information will greatly help us in fulfilling our mandate of fighting money laundering and terrorism financing,” he added.

Asubo noted that even the foreign nationals will be easily identified through the directorate of Citizenship and Immigration Control of the Ministry of Internal Affairs.

NIRA has also revealed that it will soon start registering Non Ugandan Citizens.

NIRA stated that they have been facing a challenge in registering Non Ugandan Citizens since the first priority has been equipping Ugandans with National Identification Cards but will now focus on considering non citizens entering the country as well and equip them with cards.

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