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Museveni directs telecoms to use electronic card readers in simcard registration

MTN customers register their simcards at a service centre.

President Museveni has said government will require all telecoms to use electronic Identity Card readers instead of photocopiers in registering simcard buyers.

In a written communication on various media outlets, including his facebook page, Mr Museveni, while conveying condolences to the Magara and family on the brutal murder of Susan Magara, stated that the gaps in security in urban areas are created by lack of cameras and unregulated sale of mobile phone SIM cards to people without electronic identity cards. “It is these gaps that we are in the process of closing. In the next few months, the cameras will be up in many areas,” Mr Museveni said, adding:

“No mobile or fixed phone SIM cards should be given to anybody without the electronic identity card. We may require the sellers of mobile phone SIM cards to have electronic identity card readers so that we rule out the photocopying of genuine electronic ID cards.”

The President stated that as government, there is need for them to develop more advanced measures to curb crime, which include capturing the palm-print and DNA of everybody. “Some elements try to argue that capturing the DNA of people is not democratic. I cannot understand why it is not democratic,” Mr Museveni said.

“DNA records of everybody are good to compare with blood samples, sweat, sperm etc. found at the scene of crime. Palm-prints are better than thumb prints because the criminal may leave the palm-print and not thumb print,” he added while assuring the family that the clues left by the killers will help in their capture.

“As for the killers of Susan, we shall get them because there are clues they left behind. I will not allow anybody to interfere with the freedom of our young people,” Mr Museveni said.

Cabinet yesterday directed ICT Minister Frank Tumwebaze to investigate the presence of unregistered sim cards that are being used by criminals in the rising spate of kidnappings that have engulfed the country.

Cabinet also ordered the minister to investigate how some of the simcards are registered under forged identities and report back within 14 days.

Addressing journalists at the Uganda Media Centre in Kampala on Monday, Mr Tumwebaze revealed that government, in its findings, found the killers and kidnappers using Airtel sim cards.

“Cabinet discussed and noted with great concern reports of illegal simcards still active in the market and being used by criminals to hide identity,” he said in a statement.

The minister also said a security brief to Cabinet revealed that the sim cards used by the kidnappers have no identity yet they are active.

Airtel Uganda head of marketing, Mr Rajat Bhati, denied issuing unregistered sim cards to the public.

“We have not got any complaints from the Uganda Communication Commission concerning what you are talking about,” Mr Bhati said.

Government in May last year ordered all the telecom companies to switch off unregistered phone numbers. However, some have remained active.

“Airtel Uganda follows a strict and robust compliance culture and all our customers are registered in accordance with the process. We have provided all the details to the regulator as requested,” a written communication sent to PML Daily read in part.

On accusations that Airtel has the largest number of unregistered simcards on the market, Bhati said the telecom company has provided all the required details to UCC. “Airtel Uganda follows a strict and robust compliance culture and all our customers are registered in accordance with the process. We have provided all the details to the regulator as requested,” a written communication sent to PML Daily read in part.

To a get sim card, one requires to present a national identity card.

 

 

 

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