In a letter issued last week, the Uganda Communications Commission (UCC) Acting Executive Director Ms. Irene Kaggwa Sewankambo has directed all telecommunication operators with immediate effect suspend the sale of SIM cards to NGOs, MDAs and any other public institutions pending investigations.
The suspension follows complaints the Commission received all alleging failure by telcos to adhere to the set SIM card registration processes, especially in respect of SIM cards sold to corporate bodies.
Under the set guidelines, corporate bodies can have unlimited SIM cards registered in their name as long as the accounting officer has furnished the provider with relevant documents, including articles and memorandum of association. However, it is alleged that unscrupulous individuals have taken advantage of this loophole to submit fake company documents on the basis of which they get multiple SIM cards registered.
In her letter, invoking sections 5(1)(b)(j) and 45 of the Uganda Communications Act 2013, Ms. Sewankambo asked them to co-operate in the investigation by providing relevant information.
“The suspension is to avert the risk of further breach of the law pending the conclusion of the ongoing investigations,” Ms. Sewankambo wrote.
The suspension of SIM card registration for corporate entities is to remain in place until the process of registration of SIM cards by companies and other corporate entities has been streamlined to plug gaps exploited by fraudsters.
SIM card registration for individual customers is not affected by this regulatory action.