Uganda: SIM Card Scam - Opm Protests Ban On Refugee IDs

14 October 2019

The Office of the Prime Minister (OPM) has castigated the Uganda Communications Commission (UCC) for suspending registration of SIM cards using refugee Identity cards and other attestation letters without consulting them.

"We read with dismay, a statement attributed to the Uganda Communications Commission dated October, 7 2019, in which they announced suspension of SIM card registration using identification cards issued to refugees by the Office of the Prime Minister on account of alleged forgery of the same by wrong elements," a statement issued by OPM yesterday reads in part.

On October 7, UCC suspended registration of all SIM cards using refugee cards and attestation letters from OPM following Daily Monitor's story, which exposed the forgery and fraud used by some unscrupulous telecom agents using the documents illegally.

However, OPM insisted that identification cards and family attestation letters are valid and authentic, adding that they are only issued to those granted refugee status in accordance with the Refugee Act 2016.

"OPM identity documents are issued using UNHRC (United Nations Human Rights Council) robust biometric information system which is tested and used globally with hardly any chances of manipulation or fraud to bring into disrepute the integrity of the register of the refugees," the statement adds.

Promise

The OPM pledged to work with government security agencies to arrest and prosecute all criminal elements involved in the forgery.

Mr Julius Mucunguzi, the head of communications in OPM, in an interview condemned all illegal acts on their official documents, saying forgery is not only a criminal act but also reprehensible. Mr Mucunguzi advised UCC to do due diligence to ensure that forged documents are not used.

"We were surprised that UCC did not have the courtesy to reach out to OPM when allegations were reported and went ahead to issue the public statement announcing the statement," he said.

"When a criminal forges your document, you don't blame the victim. We have seen police arrest people with forged identity cards of other public bodies. OPM is interested in getting culprits to be prosecuted according to the law," he added.

However, Mr Godfrey Mutabazi, the UCC executive director, said their decision was reached after thorough investigations.

"You (Daily Monitor) wrote the story and when we investigated, we found out that it was true and we have actually switched off telephone numbers that were registered using forged documents and there is nothing to hide. We are also working with OPM to ensure that we close all the loopholes," Mr Mutabazi said.

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