KAMPALA – The Chairperson of the Finance Committee, Henry Musasizi has summoned a number of banks to explain the whereabouts of profits they obtain after investing money deposited by mobile money subscribers after Telecoms denied knowledge of where the money goes.
The summons followed a meeting held between the Committee and officials of MTN, Airtel and Uganda Telecom Limited who had appeared before the Committee to provide their submissions on the National Payment Systems Bill 2019 that is before Parliament for scrutiny.
MTN revealed that it has escrow accounts with: Stanbic Bank, DFCU Bank, Centenary Bank, Absa Bank, and Standard Chartered Bank, while UTL’s M-Sente escrow account is in Equity Bank while Airtel has escrow accounts in; Stanbic Bank, Equity Bank, Absa Bank and Centenary bank.
During the interface, Telecoms denied knowledge of how Banks utilize money on the trust accounts with some proposing to have the interest given to Telecoms so as to educate customers on mobile money.
Wim Vanhelleputte, Chief Executive Officer MTN said that the interest gained after banks invest money on trust funds is entirely in the hands of the banks.
He said, “The banks are the holders of the account, what they do I don’t know. I think there are certain restrictions on what they can do with the money because they hold the money in trust for mobile money customers. We trust that they are holding that money well. We aren’t getting any direct interest on the money sitting on the escrow accounts, they have an obligation to keep it in trust.”
However, MPs rejected the proposal to have the interest given to Telecoms and agreed to have the Banks explain where the profits are taken.
In a related development, MTN has revealed that their January 2020 showed that Telecom is stuck with Shs4.7Bn on dormant accounts having lied idle for over a year while Shs2.7Bn has been lying idle for more than 90days.
Now, the Telecom mobile money operators want Bank of Uganda to provide clarity on how Telecoms can treat the funds on idle accounts.