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MTN, UCC defend selves over hacking MP’s simcard

Telecom giant MTN Uganda and Uganda Communications Commissions (UCC) have defended themselves against accusations of hacking into the mobile money account of Mwine Mpaka, the Western Youth Member of Parliament.

The legislator took the Telecom Company and regulator to the High Court Civil Division on April 05, 2018. In his application, Mpaka accuses MTN of hacking into his mobile money account and extorting more than Shs40 million from his contacts.

In the same application, Mpaka accuses Uganda Communications Commission and Bank of Uganda of failing to regulate communication and Mobile Money transactions respectively, which exposes mobile money users to fraudsters.

In his application, Mpaka wants UCC not to renew MTN’s license because of the alleged irregularities.

He also wants the company to pay for the damage caused under his name.
On Monday, MTN filed its defence against the application through its lawyer, Yona Tumusingize before the High Court Civil Division Deputy Registrar, Joy Kabagye.

In his submission, Tumusingize objected to Mpaka’s application on grounds that MTN has a number of customers who cannot suffer because of an incident, which happened to a single person.

He argued that MTN has over 11.5million clients, 5million of whom are registered mobile money users and over 1,200 employees and cannot risk losing their jobs because of a single incident.

Above all, Tumusingize told Court that MTN company pays over Shs350 billion to Uganda Revenue Authority annually in form of tax, arguing that government shouldn’t be put at a risk of losing such sums of cash.

“While the rights of the applicant have to be looked at, these so far also have to be considered bearing in mind the balance of inconvenience,” Tumusingyize told court.

The UCC Lawyer, Abdul Salaam Waiswa also told court that they tried to strike an outside court settlement as provided for under section 45 of the UCC act with the applicant in vain.

“The Commission wrote to the applicant seeking to settle the matters outside court, but he never replied the letter,” he said. Kabagye adjourned court to April 11, 2018 to allow Waiswa to summarize the UCC defense. Bank of Uganda will also present its defence on the same date.

Two MTN employees believed to have hacked into the mobile money accounts of Mpaka, lands minister Persis Namuganza and agriculture state minister Christopher Kibazanga are standing trial at Buganda road Court. They are Nasser Kigenyi and Henry Magembe.

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