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Airtime Scratch Cards Officially Banned – Minister Explains Why




The process towards the ban on airtime scratch cards was started when Uganda Communications Commission (UCC) and the sector operators informed the public about the plan in March 2018.

Hence forth the sector players agreed to set 31st July 2018 (today) as the deadline for the use of paper air time cards, after carefully evaluating the process necessary to effect the ban.

During today’s plenary, the minister for ICT, Frank Tumwebaze while reading a statement on the ban told members of parliament that several public notices have been running in the mass media to prepare customers for the shift to the electronic recharge system.

Tumwebaze said that consumers can now buy airtime using Easy Load, Mobile money, Me2U, Payway and several other electronic means, and that these services are available across the country in the same outlets that were selling airtime vouchers. He stated that mobile network operators have gradually phased out the distribution of scratch cards and the majority of users are already using E-Top up.

Tumwebaze added that to those clients who are still in possession of scratch cards, they are working out mechanisms to redeem them by 31st July 2018. “Mobile operators have already put in place system to facilitate conversion of any unutilized scratch cards into mobile money. Through this system, no customer will lose money. They will be refunded for any unutilized air time cards,” Tumwebaze said.

He further told parliament that telecom companies are working with their agents and distributors across the country to ensure that there is seamless transition from the old system to the new system.

The proposal to wipe out airtime scratch cards first received some criticism from some MPs. However, the minister reminded parliament of the past killings and crimes committed using mobile phones.

“Hon. Speaker and colleagues, we all remember that early this year, our country experienced an unprecedented surge in the number of crimes committed using mobile phones, including the rampant kidnaps and murders of several women, such as Susan Magara and the Entebbe women. In order to improve the security situation, in March 2018, Cabinet agreed to the streamlining of Sim Card registration processes and an inter-Ministerial Committee of Cabinet involving Internal Affairs, Security and ICT was tasked to engage with Telecom operators with a view of finding solutions to the phone-based security threats.” Tumwebaze said.

He added that several measures were implemented, including requiring all telecom operators to install biometric card readers such that all sim card registrations and sim swaps are done only upon electronic verification of the biometric details of the sim card applicant.

Tumwebaze stated that UCC and the security agencies recommended that vending of air time cards was directly linked to the selling of illegally registered sim cards and would facilitate airtime recharge and top-ups manually without any digital tracing.

“The use of electronic recharge systems was therefore recommended as the most viable and secure option,” Tumwebaze said. It has improved the process of directly tracing vendors/hawkers/stockists and eventually their customers who procure airtime electronically.

Vendors who have been selling scratch cards have been given the opportunity to sell the same airtime in a digital format using an ordinary phone as a tool of trade, and have been duly registered by the telecom operators. There is therefore no inconvenience to anybody since the same people and outlets that were selling the paper scratch cards are the same points of sale for the electronic recharge.

Tumwebaze added that digitization of airtime shall create more job opportunities through formalised distribution, contrary to earlier worries that the process will lead to massive job losses.  It will also improve revenue assurance by Government, since with the electronic system, URA can determine the amount of Airtime sold by Telecom operators and agents and thus rule out any tax under declarations.

Furthermore, the use of electronic recharge systems will protect the public against purchase of fake air time scratch cards intended to defraud unsuspecting members of the public and enhance security measures on telecom related services because there shall be traceability in the entire transaction.


By Stella Mugoya



We Won’t Refund Your OTT Tax – Finance PS Muhakanizi



The Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Finance, Economic Planning and Development Keith Muhakanizi has asked Ugandans to forget about the refund of the 1% Mobile Money tax (OTT) as directed by the president in August.

Muhakanizi says that the money was collected legally and spent legally on services to the Ugandans. He disclosed this during a meeting where he was presenting the 2nd quarter report of Government expenditure at the Ministry of finance headquarters in Kampala today.

Muhakanizi said that Government under the Ministry of finance has released the funds for 2nd quarter of the financial year 2018 /2019 putting much emphasis on effective service delivery. He added that this has been done early before the 10th day so that there is effective delivery services to the public and also eliminate complaints from some ministries when they delay to deliver.

When asked about the growing government debt burden and its implications, Muhakanizi said that there is no cause of alarm and that the government was borrowing for projects that are sustainable to avoid being trapped in debt like what happened in Malawi. Muhakanizi revealed that in the last two months, Uganda Revenue Authority (URA) has collected 149 billion above the target and that the GDP has grown by 6.1 %, a clear sign that the economy is growing.

Muhakanizi gave the breakdown of the funds released as follows: Wages – UGX 4.2244 billion, Non-wages UGX. 5,309.09 billion, Government development – UGX 5,229.00 billion, Arrears – UGX 380.50 billion, External Financing – UGX 7,734.54 billion among others.

He added that a total of 4.321.1 trillion has been released for quarter two as part of government of Uganda expenditure which reflects 29.3% of the fully approved budget of the government of Uganda excluding external financing, Appropriation in Aid (AIA), Debt, Karuma and Isimba dams.


By Remmy Atugonza


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I’m Ready To Fight Until Musisi Shows Us Accountability For The Carnival – Lukwago



The Kampala Capital City Authority (KCCA) accountability meeting that was called by Kampala Lord mayor Erias Lukwago at city hall today has flopped after some councilors and the technical wing failed to turn up claiming that they are busy.

Addressing the media at his office after the failed council meeting, a bitter Lukwago vowed that he is ready to fight tooth and nail to see that he retains his powers as the political head of the city.

Lukwago warned that he is not willing to go with the decisions of the minister and the Executive Director who have been accusing him of not calling meetings, and when he calls them, they boycott and give excuses that they have other engagements.

“I know the minister wants to take the powers of the Lord mayor and it’s the main reason why she is trying to influence members of parliament to quicken the process of amending the KCCA act. She wants most of the powers given to the her so that she becomes the decision maker, these are the very things that failed the meetings the other times. We are not going to allow this happen again,” Lukwago said.

Lukwago chairing the council meeting that flopped

Lukwago told the media that the technical teams planned to fail this meeting because no one from the Clerk’s office was around to take minutes after attempting to hide the keys to the Chambers in the morning.

However, Lukwago vowed to squeeze the executive director Jennifer Musisi and the minister for accountability especially on the cancelled Kampala city carnival and the carnivals of the previous years.

He says the council wanted to get explanations from the executive director on how the money was used and how much was collected, how this money is going to be divided among the schools and what criteria they are going to use.

Lukwago insisted that they are ready to bring the same issues of accountability in the next council meeting scheduled to take place on the 10th of October.

He also wants the issue of how the physical planning authority which is not there by law selected buildings in Kampala to be closed and for what reasons.

Lukwago also reminded the minister and the executive director that they have no moral authority to put a physical planning committee because according to the KCCA act, the committee has to be elected by the council headed by the town clerk which procedure was not followed.


By Mboowa Nathan


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SHOCKING: Police Detectives Produce Deadly Report On How Bank of Africa Fraudulently Played With Client’s Money



Finally, a group of senior detectives from the Criminal Investigations Department (CID) have produced their investigation report on how Bank of Africa staff defrauded Jeffery forex bureau sh15,423,450,493.
The team of Police investigators from Kibuli headquarters were led by W. Kototyo the deputy director economic crime and anti-Corruption, Dhabangi John from the department of economic crimes and financial intelligence and Isaac Wabweyo the investigating officer.
According to the report given to this website number CID/C40/207/fraud, titled: Report on the alleged case of fraudulent transaction on the accounts of Jeffery forex bureau limited held at Bank of Africa Vide CID headquarters GEF 698/2016 and GEF 370/16, the detectives discovered that Bank of Africa and Jeffery forex bureau limited are both registered financial institutions with Bank of Uganda and they do forex exchange, banking and money remittances respectively.
Detectives state that they established that Jeffery forex bureau started it’s business in Uganda in 1997. It was established that Jeffery forex bureau limited holds the following accounts with Bank of Africa, UGX20206094001, USD 2020609436, EUR 02060940000 and GB pounds 02060940088.
The detectives further established that whenever a business need arose, the management of Jeffery forex bureau limited would make transactions on those accounts for instance money transfers, receiving, buying, selling of forex and sending funds outside the country.
It was discovered that several deals in foreign currencies were done on these accounts by Ronald Mutebi, Rogers Lutaaya, Ahmed Kalule and Walter Nirwotti Munanu all senior staffs of Bank of Africa. The report shows that they all admitted in the statements they made before the police during interrogation.
It was discovered that in the Month of November and December 2015, the said accounts had over sixty (60) business deals, all postdated and done by the treasury staff to cushion the bank from the losses earlier made through forex bureau trading without authorization from the bank management.
The detectives established that the suspects were given high targets by the bank to make profits came up with proprietary trading which meant that in case the bank made a loss to the forex bureau transaction, the staff in question would book another future transaction to make provision for the loss and the cycle would continue like that until the loss to the bank crystalized on these transactions.
It was established that through these fictitious transactions, the treasury department thought they would meet the target of making profits for the bank and were instead making the forex lose.
It was also established that these transactions were carried out on the accounts of Jeffery forex bureau and were done without the knowledge, consent or approval of the forex bureau.
It was estimated that through these fictitious transactions carried out by staff Bank of Africa the forex bureau lost sh15,423,540,493.
It was also established that it’s against these questionable transactions that Bank of Africa revoked the operational license suspending all business with Jeffery forex bureau and closing its bank accounts.
“Following the above, investigations so far done and the evidence collected we would suggest that our file be submitted to DPP for perusal and legal advice,” the team of detectives recommended.
The forex bureau also filed a civil suit number 320 of 2018 in the High Court of Kampala commercial court division against the Bank of Africa.
“That by simple computation, the magnitude of the defendant bank’s impugned transactions amount to USD 26,321,352,96, EUR 14,639,239, GBP 16,496,651,” part of the forex bureau admission on the Court’s record reads.
The commercial court registrar allocated the file to Justice David Wangutusi. However, before the kick of the case, both parties were given an opportunity for mediation.
Court accredited Virji Mahabuba to chair the mediation, the plaintiff was represented by M/S Kinobe, Mutyaba and company Advocates while the defendants were represented by M/S Sebalu, Lule and Company Advocates
Unfortunately, Mahabuba reported back to Justice Wangutusi and informed him in writing that the mediation he gave him to chair have failed and both parties are ready to battle out legally in court. The file has already been taken back to the judge for scheduling.
This website will keep you posted on this case.


The document that proves that meditations failed

By Jamil Lutakome


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