A farmer based in AKikuube has accused MTN Uganda of monitoring and/or facilitating fraud against its customers who lose money through mobile money transaction fraud.
Armed with evidence of how Shs932,111 was stolen from his mobile money account and what he says were efforts to defraud him, Emmanuel William Ufitimana – a resident of Waigaza, Butoole Parish, Kikuube District – hopes that justice will be served.

Mr Ufitimana, 50, says he had been seduced by phone calls from suspected scammers before the incident in which he lost his hard-earned cash.
The graduate in computer science and information technology decided to document and record his entire ordeal.
Concerns about the security of mobile money have been many, but the major operators – Airtel Uganda and MTN Uganda – have always defended their platforms as safe.

In March, the value of mobile money was Shs 145.6 trillion. Over the same period, mobile money users have grown to around 30 million
This publication presented Mr. Ufitimana’s allegations, including a statement he made to MTN officials on September 13, to Rhona Arinaitwe, the telecom giant’s spokesperson, and to Martin Ssebuliba, its director in charge of brand and communications.
Mr Sebuliba said MTN Uganda was still investigating the case.
“It is quite true that our client Emmanuel William Ufitimana sent us a complaint concerning a debit on his mobile money account. Our forensic team is still investigating this matter and will contact the complainant once all the facts are established,” he said. Monitor.

Mr. Sebuliba added, “MTN is and will continue to educate and raise awareness about the fraudulent activities of scammers. We urge our customers to be vigilant and not to share their PIN with anyone.
The test
On September 5, Mr. Ufitimana received a strange call on 0786352914 around 10:39 a.m. The caller said he was an employee of MTN Uganda.
Mr. Ufitimana realized that it could be a fraudster who wanted to steal it. What shocked him though was that the caller knew the exact balance he had on his phone.

“I discouraged him and our conversation ended abruptly as he swore to take my money,” says Mr Ufitimana.
A few seconds passed before a lady called Gorret Masika asked Ufitimana to authorize a transaction of Shs 932,111 from his mobile money account.
“I pressed cancel to deny this request, as I did before. Unfortunately, after a few seconds, I received a message from MTN informing me that Gorett Masika had deducted Shs932.111 from my account. While verifying my balance, my money was gone,” he said.
Within two hours, Mr Ufitimana says he reported the case to the nearest police station and then to the MTN service center at least 40 km away in Masindi.

He says he shared the recording of the trades he made with the manager of Masindi MTN Service Center, wondering how anyone could know his balance without his personal identification number (PIN).
The manager of MTN Masindi promised to contact him again. After waiting for days with no response, he returned to the center to find another manager.
He presented the issue to the new manager and again shared the recording. He was again told to await the results of an investigation. When that came to nothing, he took to MTN Uganda’s Twitter where he was advised to report the matter along with the recording to MTN’s security department.
“In the security department of MTN, I met a manager who promised [after hearing the recording of our talk] to call another manager,” he said, adding that he had been told that MTN MOMO workers had confirmed that he approved of the withdrawal.

First request
Mr. Ufitimana demanded that MTN experts demonstrate to him whether his PIN code, which he claims is only known to him, was used to withdraw his money or that the crooks had sophisticated software that beats the MTN system.
On March 29, MTN Mobile Money Uganda Ltd – MTN Uganda’s mobile money company – issued a statement expressing “great concern” following a post circulating on social media in which an anonymous person claimed the disappearance of Shs2.7m from his mobile. money wallet.
The post alluded to company insiders having access to customers’ secret PIN codes.
In its defence, MTN Mobile Money Uganda Ltd has assured its more than 13 million active customers that their Mobile Money PIN “is secret information inaccessible to anyone inside or outside the company, outside the company. ‘customer exception’.
Second request
Yet five months later, Mr. Ufitimana faced similar challenges.
“If I declined to approve a request initiated by someone by not putting in a 5-digit PIN that your company gave me to protect my money, but someone removed it using d ‘other tips/about your software, who is responsible for them?’ asked Mr. Ufitimana.
“Do you have anyone using a mobile money number that is not registered with a valid ID today?”

After taking his money, he said, the fraudster called him twice using different numbers. He has the tapes.
The mobile money giant advises its customers to follow three “golden rules of security” when transacting with MTN Mobile Money.
Customers are advised not to share their PIN, code or one-time password (OTP) with anyone. They are also told to choose PIN code combinations that cannot be easily guessed and to only consider communication from the company if it is from a specific number they advertise.
Mr Ufitimana insists he did not break any of the “golden rules of security”, but he received no answers to his two questions.
Telecom Mobile Money platforms are regulated by the Bank of Uganda. In May, the Uganda Communications Commission (UCC) warned the public about increasing cases of fraud on mobile money platforms and via SIM cards.

Growing cases
A 2020 report by the Police’s Criminal Investigations Directorate (CID) found that at least 5 billion shillings were fraudulently sent to 877 Airtel Uganda SIM cards while 755 MTN SIM cards were fraudulently received at least 5.5 billion shillings via mobile money. The money was quickly withdrawn by the crooks.
Earlier this year Henry Bukenya lost over 7 million shillings when someone stole his mobile phone.
Mr Bukenya wondered how the thieves were able to gain access to his account, including national identification details.
Airtel Uganda, the accused company, acknowledged receiving the complaint in November 2021 and the actions taken include blocking its account to investigate the allegations.

Airtel Mobile Commerce Uganda Ltd eventually admitted to the fraud, saying insider connivance enabled it. He added that the culprit had been identified and that “appropriate measures had been taken”. Mr. Bukenya was compensated in February 2022.
In the same year, a security breach on a consumer credit aggregator, Pegasus Technologies, compromised the mobile money network in the country. More than 10 billion Shs would have gone up in smoke.

Payment system providers and operators, which include mobile money operators and aggregators, must within 24 hours notify the Bank of Uganda, the regulator, of suspected or confirmed fraud, breach of security and material service interruptions, in accordance with regulations under the National Payment Systems Act.