Buganda Road Court has sent on remand two MTN staff accused of defrauding prominent personalities in a SIM Card swap scam.
Samuel Kagoda the Grade one magistrate, sent Nasser Kigenyi, 29, an MTN service centre adviser from Mubende branch and Henry Mugambe, a sales man for MTN in Kyegegwa to Luzira prison on remand till March 15th after charging them with offences related electronic fraud contrary to section 21(1) 20 of the Computer Misuse Act.
The duo are said to have ripped off the public by cloning the sim cards of Lands minister Persis Namuganza and her agriculture counterpart Christopher Kyebazanga.
They were also charged with illegally blocking SIMcards belonging to Namuganda and Kibanzanga as well as SIM card belonging to Youth MP Mwine Mpaka and a one Mercy Kyankunda. The duo were also read a charge of conspiracy to defraud, all under the Computer Misuse Act 2011.
Prosecution led by Nelly Asiku alleges that the suspects operating in Kampala and Mubende districts unlawfully swapped SIMcard numbers 0782670551 belonging to Namuganza,0772970393 belonging to Kyebazanga, 0783799892 belonging to Mwine Mpaka and 07726679365 belonging to Mercy Kyankunda before blocking the registered owners of these numbers from using them and allowed access to fraudsters to use the same numbers to solicit money from unsuspecting members of the public.
According to Namuganza and Mpaka the conmen used their cloned SIM cards to ask members of the public to send them money alleging the MPs were in some form of distress. Mpaka said his number was used to steal over Shs140m from the public. Mpaka said he got to know of the scam when a fellow MP contacted him wondering if he had received the money he had requested. “I told him that I had never requested fro money from him and he showed me the message and said he had sent me money, I panicked.”
Namuganza told journalists that unknown people were sending messages to all persons saved in her telephone contact list telling them how she was in a meeting and needed money that would be refunded later.
The con artists then asked their victims to deposit the money on given telephone contacts in the names of a one Ssebandeke Muhamudu.
“First victims whom they conned were my people from the Ministry who sent Shs2m after the con men claimed that I needed the money for fuel. They sent the same message to other people and asked for money from them.”
Namuganza said the goons also tried to con former IGP Kale Kayihura of 5m but did this time they didn’t succeed because Kayihura called her on her other line which had not been hacked.
MTN CEO Wim Vanhelleputte issued an apology to those affected by the SIM Card swap fraud and promised to personally contact the victims with a view of compensating them of the money lost.