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MTN hits back over national security breach, tax evasion claims

The MTN data centres at Mutundwe, Lubaga, and Port-bell Road, Mbuya were attacked by security agencies at the weekend. MTN Chairman Mr. Charles Mbiire says the telecom giants have the customers’ information well backed up (FILE PHOTO)

KAMPALA – Telecom giants MTN Uganda has today July 9, distanced themselves from allegations that the company breached national security and is evading taxes.

Addressing journalist at Nyonyi Gardens in Kampala, Mr Charles Mbire, the company chairman said contrary to various media reports, “MTN is not aware of any investigation into alleged breach of national security involving it or tax evasion on its part.”

Security forces on Monday July 2, allegedly attached to Internal Security Organisation (ISO) kidnapped two company workers and raided the telecom giant MTN Uganda’s data Centres at Mutundwe Rubaga.

The Monday raid on the offices of telecommunication giant by security operatives was precipitated by allegations that the company was evading tax and to find call data on some suspects being held in connection with the murder of former police spokesperson Andrew Felix Kaweesi.

Security sources had also earlier revealed that the raid intended to establish if the Telecom company has been evading tax through under declaration of profit as alleged by President Yoweri Museveni.

While making a case for levying social media tax, the President said government was losing revenue through under declaration of their revenue.

“Telephone companies have been under-declaring calls until recently when we acquired machines to see the telephone calls ourselves. Big shame to the culprit,” Mr Museveni said.

MTN Uganda Board chairman Charles Mbiire adresses the press in Kampala. He says no customer or company data was taken or compromised during the intrusion (PML Daily PHOTO)

He said that “we now have the eyes to see the entire goings on in the telecommunication and financial services. No more games.”

Sources said the raid was conducted with the knowledge of the President.

Also contrary to earlier reports, Mr Mbire said despite “several attempts by intruders into MTN Uganda’s servers over a period of two hours, the efforts were unsuccessful because of MTN Uganda’s robust information security systems and no data was accessed or compromised by intruders.”

Mbire said the company has since reported the incident to security minister, Chieftaincy of Military Intelligence (CMI) and police for possible investigations.

Mr Mbire added that MTN (U) take this criminal incident seriously and is working with the government of Uganda to establish the identity and motive of the perpetrators and bring them to account.

“These incidents were captured on the company CCTV cameras and the footage has been shared with the police,” he said.

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