Uganda Red Cross collects upto UGX21.9M to help those in need during lock down

By Deo Waswa

Ugandans responding to the call by the Uganda Red Cross society and have contributed shs21.9million towards the society’s efforts in the fight against the COVID 19 pandemic.

The contributions were made through a MoMoPay merchant code that MTN Uganda launched in April as one of the telecom company’s interventions in the fight against the deadly virus.

Through the merchant code *165*3*191919# MTN customers are in position to make donations of any amount toward the efforts to combat covid19.

Speaking after receiving the money from MTN Uganda on behalf of Red Cross, Dr. Josephine Okwera, the Director Health and Social Services at URCS noted that the money will go a long way in making the lives of some people easier during this hard time.

She said after the extension of the lock down for more 14 days, more support is still needed to rescue those that are worst hit due to the lock down.

This comes at time when Uganda is still registering new cases of COVID 19 with more from truck drivers especially From Kenya and Tanzania.

On Wednesday 6th May, 2020, two new COVID-19 case were confirmed from 3,071 samples of truck drivers and this brings a total of confirmed cases to 100 in Uganda.

The two new cases arrived from Kenya via Malaba; and are Eritrean and Kenyan nationalities

All 438 community samples tested negative for COVID-19

MTN’s Chief sues Government for illegal deportation

Following his abrupt deportation from Uganda, the former MTN Chief Executive Officer Wim Joris Vanhellepute has taken his alleged illegal deportation to the High court in Kampala.

Vanhellepute has now dragged the Attorney General to High court seeking orders to quash his deportation .

He was deported after the minister of Internal Affairs Gen. Jeje Odongo issued his deportation letter on the 14th of February 2019.

However Vanhellepute contends that , the said order that labelled him as an undesirous and prohibited immigrant is illegal because for the past 25 yrars he has lived in Uganda, he has been a law abiding citizen with no criminal record.

Vanhellepute who is currently in his native country Beligum after being forcefully returned back ha now instructed his lawyers from Birungi and company advocates to file a suit demanding damages from government for violating his rights bu not giving him a fair hearing before being deported.

He also says he was detained in an illegal detention and treated un-just.

He also also narrated in his letter of intention to sue that on the 29th of January 2019, he was summoned by the Special Investigations Unit at Kireka were he accused of communicating to the deported MTN staff before being asked to record a statement.

He further claims that he was then ordered to report back at SIU on the 14th of February 2019, were he was detained and later driven to Entebbe Airport were he was handed over to aviation security and at 11. 59 pm , he was deported through an SN Brussels Flight.

He said that although he tried to explain to the police officials that he needed to communicate to the deported staff because they had not yet officially handed over office, they did not listen to him but did as they wished with out being given an opportunity to explain himself to Minister Odongo before signing the Order that declared him unwanted in Uganda.

He further claims that he was not given any opportunity to talk to his Ugandan wife; Barbra Adoso and 2 children who are residents at Lubowa in Makindye.

He now wants court to declare joris’ deportation unlawful on grounds that he had a valid work permit and a running Visa which was due to expire in May this year .

Police is still following up on deported MTN employees

By Robert Segawa

The Uganda police revealed that they are following up on some individuals from MTN Telecommunication company who had a hand in destabilizing the security of the country.

This was after the deportation of the three MTN bosses who included an Italian, a French and a Rwandan nationals last week by security and immigration.

According to the statement that was released by MTN Uganda last week the three officials were intercepted by government agencies on different days before being deported to their home countries.

Olivier Prentout, a former MTN Chief marketing officer was arrested by plain clothed operatives on Saturday 19th January 2019 upon arrival from a business trip abroad.

While Annie Bilenge Tabula the former Head of sales and Distribution was picked on Monday morning 21st January 2019 by unidentified security personnel upon arrival at MTN headquarters office in Kololo central business of Kampala and whisked her away before deported back to Rwanda.

Intelligence also shows that Elza Muzolini 34 years, former general manager mobile financial services at MTN Uganda has also been deported from Uganda on Tuesday by security agencies on compromising of national security

The three were deported in coordination with immigration offices after a thoroughly monitoring on their acts.

Addressing the press today at CPS Kampala the police spokesperson, Fred Enanga said that they are still following up these individuals through investigation and interrogations such that the country remains peaceful.

He warns the section of the media and members of the public who use social media to desist from coming up with allegations that there is an indifference in relationship between Rwanda and Uganda.

He adds that the security agencies will continue to investigate and monitor all individuals who are deemed to be a threat to our prevailing peace and stability.

MTN celebrates 20years in Uganda, promises to improve data services

 By Daudi Zirimala

Giant telecom MTN Uganda has announced a six month-long celebrations campaign to mark 20 years on operations in Uganda under the theme celebrating the past, inspiring the future.

Speaking at the launch of the activities the MTN CEO Wim Vanhellepute said that this month of October MTN will be marking 20 years with an expo at Kololo independence grounds showcasing its  journey  in Uganda; where they started and will also be heavy on displaying new technologies on the market.

He said that in the past 20 years, the company has got 11 million customers and invested One billion US dollars to build a strong network that covers 96% of the Uganda’s population.

The main focus of MTN Uganda in the next ten years is to improve on the mobile data services as well as creating a cashless economy through improving mobile money services  across the country says,MTN CEO Wim Vanhellepute.

MTN Uganda continues sensitization drive about easy load

By Wasswa Deo

MTN Uganda has reached upto 80% of its customers in the last two months while sensitizing as well as educating them how they are going to deal with the new systems of loading airtime without using scratch cards.

According to the Uganda communications commission, the airtime scratch cards will be out of market effective 31st July .

Addressing journalists at  the grand finale of Momo Nyabo promotion which has seen many of MTN clients winning lots of prizes including brand new cars, the MTN CEO, Wim Vanelleputte has noted that, the company is doing its best to ensure that it also covers the remaining 20% in this remaining period.

Telecom company employees charged with fraud granted bail

The two MTN employees charged for attempting to defraud Members of Parliament have been granted bail.

Twenty nine-year-old Kigenyi Nasser, a service advisor with MTN Uganda and Magembe Henry 37, a salesman have today been granted a cash bail of three million shillings each and ten million shillings non-cash bail to the six sureties, three standing in for each of the suspects.

The Bail application was granted basing on the substantial sureties presented in court. The sureties standing in for Kigenyi include his wife Aliba Ritah, Nantale Hasfah, a sister and Isabirye Saleh, a teacher at Kakungube Senior Secondary School Mubende.

Those standing in for Magembe are his three brothers Kenneth Magembe, a senior structural Engineer, Musazi Micheal, a head teacher at Agha Khan School and Mugerwa Dauda, a resident of Nabweru South on Nansana Municipality.

The suspects face nine counts including electronic fraud, unauthorised obstruction of simcards contrary to section 16 of the Computer Misuse Act. State prosecutor Viola Tusingwire told court investigations are still ongoing.

Prosecution told Bugabda Road Chief Magistrates Court that in February this year, the suspects conspired to defraud State Minister for Lands Persis Namuganza, State Minister for Agriculture Christopher Kibazanga, Western Youth Member of Parliament Mwine Mpaka and businesswoman Mercy Kyakunda.

The suspects allegedly swapped simcards belonging to different Members of Parliament with intention of securing unfair monetary gains.

The suspects return in court on April 17 for mention of their case.



Ugandans get ready for the first ever Hip-Hop awards

By Annah Nafula

Ugandans should get ready for the first ever Hip Hop awards event of its kind.

The Tribe UG, MTN, Rwenzori Mineral water, Face TV, Creative Republic, Qway and Marquis are the corporate organizations that are organising the Hiphop awards.

According to Tribe UG’s Haggai Mubanza , Artists submitted their work in 2015 and a team of five seasoned hip-hop personalities   sat , analyzed and picked the nominees in each of the 22 categories.

According to MTN’s  chief marketing officer Mapula Bodipe, MTN believes in creating an enabling environment where people can realise their dreams and harness them to great heights.

The awards will be taking place on the 15th of December at the golf Course hotel from 6pm.



MPs want MTN’s MOKash product halted

Members of Parliament expressed discomfort with the new move by MTN to start taking savings and lending money to Ugandans.

The MPs also raised issue over consumer protection from services offered by telecom companies.
This week mobile telephone giant MTN announced that it would partner with Bank of Africa to offer financial loans through its mobile money services.

Bulamogi County legislator Kenneth Lubogo on Wednesday raised on a matter of national importance citing MOKash advertisement by MTN Telecom Company inviting Ugandans to start saving and take loan.

The MP said that MTN has about 9 million subscribers and that if these people borrow at an interest rate of 9 percent per month set by the telecom company, it would translate into 108 percent per year.

MP Lubogo questioned whether MTN had become a financial institution to start taking savings from Ugandans.

He proposed that the new product by MTN be suspended until government comes out clearly on how the transactions are going to be made and the safety of people.

David Bahati, the state minister for planning told MPs that MTN-Uganda has a license through the Uganda Communications Commission (UCC) to provide mobile phone services and internet.

He however noted that MTN had no license to do banking services but that Bank of Uganda gave the company together with Bank of Africa permission to lend to Ugandans through the MOKash product.

The minister’s response was not well received by MPs. Katerera County MP Atwibu Katoto noted that the telecom company was already making a lot of money from Uganda through unnecessary charges on mobile money, airtime and data bundles.

Joseph Ssewungu, the Kalungu West MP said that even Ugandans selling MTN’s airtime get peanuts. He questioned where Bank of Uganda got the authority to okay the MOKash product without the approval of parliament.

Elijah Okupa, the Kasilo County MP cited a need for parliament to put in place a law on mobile money.

Onesmus Twinamasiko, the Bugangaizi East MP expressed disappointment in the Bank of Uganda questioning how the bank could okay MTN to lend money at a high interest rate of 9 percent per month.

State minister for planning, David Bahati agreed with the MPs that the 9 percent interest rate is a bit suspicious and that he is to come back to parliament on Thursday about the matter. He also pledges to address parliament bout the legal framework under which the MTN MOCash is operating.

Bahati also told MPs that the ICT revolution that is to enable financial inclusion and increase the country’s domestic savings is inevitable and that parliament should embrace it.

On whether there are some revenues being lost by government in the mobile companies, Bahati said that this was possible and that it is the reason why government is purchasing an intelligence machine to know exactly how much the telecom companies are making.

Frank Tumwebaze, the minister of Information, Communication and Technology also pledged to present a statement on the regulatory framework of telecoms.

Tumwebaze also clarified on MTN’s new MOKash service that was launched on Tuesday.


MTN and Airtel ordered to release details of Aine’s phone recordings

High court judge Lydia Mugambe has ordered MTN and Airtel Uganda to produce recordings of phone conversations that were made by the missing head of security of Go forward presidential candidate Christopher Aine to his cousin before he disappeared on the 14th of December 2015.  Aine’s cousin Ezra Kabugo petitioned the high court seeking the Uganda police to produce Aine dead or alive.

He claims that Aine last called him on the 14th of December 2015 telling him that police operatives had sealed off his home in Kyanja and he has never been seen again. His lawyers led by council John May Mugisha requested court to order the two telecommunication companies to provide the recordings which they insist will improve or strengthen their chances of locating Aine or knowing what really happened to him.