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ICT Minister Confirms Investigations Into Mobile Money Crimes




ICT and National Guidance Minister Frank Tumwebaze says that the government has commenced investigations into crimes targeting mobile phone users and will penalize telecom companies that have issued unregistered sim cards.

Tumwebaze told journalists today at the Media Centre that cabinet instructed him to make the announcement due to increasing reports that criminals are using unregistered sim cards to coordinate their actions and carry out fraud.

He added that he has directed the Uganda Communication Commission to take the necessary steps.

Tumwebaze addressing journalists at the Media Centre

“Last year, we said if a number is not properly registered, it should not be operational. One of the affected telecoms is airtel. I’ve given UCC 14 days to deal with them. This is a serious security matter & can lead to crime.

People are saying we’d rather innovate otherwise time will catch up on us. Web fraud is catching up and we need to prevent it. A person can even be abroad and send you fake emails. They’d get your emails and send you fraud messages.

We’d want to be as cyber protected as Russia but we can’t do that in one day. Positive progress comes with challenges but we are working on it. No one should have an unregistered SIM Card like those we found airtel customers having,” Tumwebaze warned.

This directive comes weeks after some Members of Parliament and Minster of State for Lands Persis Namuganza complained that their phones had been hacked and they had been used to defraud people.



MPs Propose 30% Cap On Profit Repatriation



State Minister for Investment, Evelyn Anite


Members of Parliament sitting on Parliament’s Finance Committee Chaired by Henry Musasizi have called upon government to consider capping profit repatriated by foreign investors.

This was their meeting with the State Minister for Investment, Evelyn Anite, where they deliberated on the Investment Code Amendment Bill, 2017.

The objective of the bill is to revise, modernize and replace the 1991 Investment Code Act and to make it conform to the provisions of the Constitution and continue in existence Uganda Investment Authority establishment under the Act, to spell out the objects of the authority to redefine its function and provide for the establishment of one stock centre and an industrial park.

According to the legislators on the committee, the government has been so lenient to foreigners who take away a lot of money from the country hence strangling the country’s economy.

Kilak North MP, Anthony Akol said that government should consider capping profits repatriated from the country to 30 percent.

The committee Chairperson said that, “We think the policy should change because we have given a lot of favours to investors for a long time, we think it is high time we benefit from the favors we have provided to investors among which is the percentage of profit that can be taken out of the country is a given period of time.”

Musasizi argued that foreign investors must be encouraged to keep the money here and reinvest it in the country instead of taking it elsewhere.

In response, the Minister argued that the changes desired by legislators can only be achieved through a thorough policy change.

“The position of government is that an investor should repatriate all his profit that is after he has paid the utilities, taxi, salaries and the balance we give him the liberty to repatriate it with no conditions,” Anite said.

The Ministry Commissioner in Charge of Economic Development Policy, Minister of Finance, Joseph Enyimu added that the Ministry is open to the discussions in that line.

“But the position under the Finance Institution Act and Services is that we liberalized the foreign exchange market meaning that the capital account of Uganda is liberalized.”

Enyimu said that in the meantime, government is encouraging some of the investments to open up on Uganda’s Security Exchange so that Ugandans can participate in ownership which a number of companies have done.


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Shocking Details Of How Top City Tycoons Bharwani, Kakumba, Ntaganda Grabbed Army And School Land




Shocking details have emerged showing how top city tycoons Muhamood Bharwani of Bharwani group of companies, Francis Kakumba of prestigious apartments limited grabbed army and school land in Kampala.

Bharwani, the Chief Executive Officer of Bharwani group of companies, while testifying before the commission of inquiry into land matters said that between 2010 and 2011, he was approached by his friend Francis Kakumba, with a deal involving the purchase of land in Mbuya. Bharwani said that he immediately talked to his wife and they established a real estate company called City Care Holdings and Investments to buy the land.

“My Lord, Kakumba took me to the said land which was bushy with some small plantation. He promised that he was going to get for me that land and we establish a warehouse,” Bharwani said.

Bharwani told the commission that Kakumba came back later and told him that he met the Uganda Lands Commission (ULC) boss and told him to pay 800m shillings but in instalments. Bharwani added that he first gave him 200m shillings after which Kakumba gave for him lease application forms.

“On that day, I gave Kakumba an extra 400m shillings and the remaining balance was to be paid when our application was approved,” Bharwani testifid. Kakumba then brought for him a letter indicating that his application was approved and he gave him the remaining balance of 200m shillings. They were granted a lease of five years with a condition of renewal for 45 years.

Bharwani told to the commission that the entire process was handled by Kakumba and he never met anybody from ULC. However, Bharwani said that while he was still waiting for his land title, he was shocked when he found the land fenced by the army with soldiers guarding it.

“My lord when I called Kakumba, he told me that the land commission was still handling the matter on two and a half acres of land. I waited in vain. When I called Kakumba, he just told me that he was busy with his work. I drag him to court because I can’t fight the army,” Bharwani lamented.

However, the commission learnt that Bharwani renewed the lease to 45 years and the land title was mortgaged in Sudhir’s Crane Bank even though he couldn’t access it.

The commission also learnt that Bharwani wrote to the Attorney General threatening to sue him and force him to pay 5.5 billion shillings if his land title his not given to him.

“You businessmen have a habit of grabbing government’s properties and when it tries to get it back you connive with corrupt judicial officers and rob it billions of monies. Bharwani, you are a land grabber and you knew whatever was going on on that land,” justice Catherine Bamugemereire, the chairperson of the commission, blasted Bharwani.

The commission also discovered that Bharwani was behind the two companies, Emirates Investment Company and Prestigious Apartments Limited, together with city tycoon Ephraim Ntaganda, which are implicated in dubious land deals. Joyce Gunza Habasa, one of the commissioners pined Bharwani for conniving with Ntaganda and fraudulently grabbed Nakasero Primary School land.

“My Lord, it was Ntaganda who brought me that deal after negotiating with the school to rehabilitate the school by roofing their buildings,” Bharwani said.

The commission also grilled Bharwani for grabbing East Kololo Primary School land on Naguru by-pass where he constructed posh apartments. He said that he negotiated with the school and built for it a canteen which surprised the commission. Bharwani also grabbed the Railway line reserve Land along Jinja road. He testified that he bought that land from Uganda Railway line corporation. The commission dismissed his submissions and promised to call him again and explain the way he and Ntaganda grabbed government land.



By Jamil Lutakome



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NITA-U Boss Saka Grilled Over 94 Million




The Executive Director of National Information Technology Authority Uganda (NITA-U) James Saka has been grilled over Shs 94m which was a mischarge on the authority accounts during the financial year 2013/2014.

Saka together with other officials led by the Board Chairman, James Kabajjo had appeared before the Parliament Committee on Commissions, Statutory Authorities and State Enterprises (COSASE) to respond to a number of Audit queries as noted by the Auditor General.

A review of NITA-U’s single account cashbook at the treasury revealed that the entity charged wrong expenditure codes to a tune of Shs94, 045, 420.

Bukedea Woman MP, Anita Among, who was chairing the committee meeting asked the officials to avail the committee with a list of accounts that suffered the mischarge as well those that benefited but Saka and team could not readily avail them.

MP Among asked the NITA-U officials whether the mischarge was approved by the board of directors as well as the Permanent Secretary/Secretary to Treasury (PSST) as provided for in the Public Finance Management Act (PFMA).

In response, Saka said that he is solely responsible for the mischarge since he didn’t get any permission from the board adding that by then the PFMA was not yet in force.

Saka said the decision was taken due to the fact that some account codes were not allocated sufficient funds during the budgeting process and non-utilization of non-tax revenue.

The legislators asked whether any disciplinary action was taken by the board against Mr. Saka since he acted without their approval.

The Board Chairman, Kabajjo noted that he was not in office during the period under audit, however, Saaka, who was a member of the board then said that he was cautioned by the board and since then, no mischarge has ever been carried.

The Committee Vice Chairperson, Among ruled ordering the officials to avail all the documents of the accounts that suffered the mischarge as well as the caution letter as proof that action was taken against Saaka.


By Stella Mugoya


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