Over UGX11.4Bn lost in mobile financial crime, personation fraud – Police Report

Police Annual Crime Report has revealed that over 11.4Bn lost in fraudulent financial transactions. (COURTESY PHOTO)

Kampala – Uganda Police has, on Tuesday, April 28, released the annual Crimes report for the year 2019 with statistics showing a decline in the crime rates in Uganda – RedPepper’s Maurice Muhwezi takes a dive in financial, cybercrime and the unique insights.

In a report unveiled by the Inspector General of Police, JM Okoth Ochola, confirmed the development revealing that this was as a result of the government’s efforts to tackle crime, efforts of the men and women of the Uganda Police Force and continued support from our sister security agencies to fight crime.

“I am pleased to present to you the crime and traffic/road safety report for 2019. There was a 9.8% decrease in the volume of crimes reported to Police from 238,746 cases reported in 2018 to 215,224 cases reported in 2019,” IGP Ochola said.

“There was relative increase in cases of homicide, cyber-crimes and corruption related cases. Defilement still poses a big problem to the Police. In 2019, whereas there was decrease in defilement cases by 11.4% from 2018, a total of 13,682 children were defiled, majority of whom being the girl child,” IGP Ochola revealed labelling the former unacceptable.

With an exclusive look at the Police’s Annual Crime report 2019, it was revealed that over UGX17bn was lost to cybercrime in fraudulent financial transaction and impersonation with Mobile Money, Banking systems and separate hits.

“A total of 248 cases were reported during the period under review compared to 198 cases reported in 2018. Cybercrimes led to a loss of UGX 11,446,603,500 in 2019 in which UGX 51,890,000 was recovered,” read part of the report.

“By the end of 2019, 188 cases were still under inquiry, 30 cases were taken to court, 08 cases secured convictions, and 18 cases were still pending in court,” statement clarifies.

The report highlighted the two major categories of cybercrimes handled in 2019 as Fraudulent SIM card registration and SIM card swapping, and Personation of high-profile personality

Modus operandi in Fraudulent SIM card swapping and registration

Police revealed that Some scrupulous telephone company agents fraudulently; Obtained the biometrics of unsuspecting persons more than once, and made more copies of the National Identity card of unsuspecting persons.

The crooks would later register more than one SIM card in the names of the unsuspecting persons whose biometrics have been taken more than once and more copies of National Identity cards have been made behind their backs.

The agents then start selling pre-registered SIM cards to people with The agents then start selling pre-registered SIM cards to people with criminal intentions who would in turn use the numbers to negotiate ransom, defraud and coordinate their criminal activities among themselves.

“In total 519 fraudulently swapped (duplicated to make two lines with same number to work at the same time) pre-registered SIM cards were used to transfer and steal monies from various banks and mobile money accounts,” the report confirms.

Major cases in the criminal activity

Unauthorized Access and Theft of Money amounting UGX 2,600,000,000 from Beyonic Ltd Systems;

Between September 7 – 16, 2018, the float accounts of Beyonic Ltd were hacked and payments amounting to UGX 2,617,761,200 were effected from the float accounts of Beyonic Ltd (Airtel-Uganda and MTN-Uganda) on behalf of OffTrack Vendors Africa Ltd to 83 different MTN and Airtel Mobile money accounts without any money being received by Beyonic Ltd from Off-Track Vendors Africa Ltd.

The beneficiary SIM cards had been registered without the consent of the registered owners. On interviewing, the registered owners had no idea of their SIM cards that received the money.

Unauthorized Access and Theft of Money amounting to UGX 802,000,000 from MTN Uganda

Between March and April 2019, unknown persons gained unauthorized access to MTN Mobile Money Systems and fraudulently transferred the above-mentioned amount of money to various MTN Mobile numbers which was later withdrawn at different mobile money outlets.

The victims were not aware of the transactions until they realised some suspicious activity. (Courtesy Photo)

In both cases, the owners of the agent SIM cards and beneficiary SIM cards were not aware of the received money.

Unauthorized Access and Theft of UGX383,000,000 from DFCU Bank.

Between May 14-  20, 2019, unknown persons gained unauthorized access to various DFCU Bank Accounts and fraudulently transferred UGX 438,000,000 to various MTN and Airtel Mobile numbers which was later withdrawn at different mobile money outlets

On the freeze on the accounts of the suspected fraudsters, a total of UGX 160,166,003 was salvaged thereby leaving a net loss of UGX 383,236,097 which was withdrawn using ATM cards and various Mobile Money outlets.

Unauthorized Access and Theft of UGX 800,000,000 from Centenary Bank.

Between August and December 2019, Centenary Bank Accounts registered on Mobile banking were hacked and money worth UGX 800,000,000 was fraudulently transferred to approximately 100 SIM cards and withdrawn without the consent of the registered owners. The investigations are still on going.

Unauthorized Access and Theft of UGX 116,000,000 from True African Systems.

Between May and June 2019, True African systems were hacked and money amounting UGX 116,000,000 was fraudulently transferred to 303 SIM cards (both Airtel and MTN) and withdrawn without the consent of the registered owners.

Modus operandi in Personation

“In the year 2019, 14 prominent personalities were personated by the perpetrators of this crime through creating Facebook account in the names of these personality and fraudulently solicited for financial help.  They also availed telephone numbers where money would be deposited,” the report states.

Police disclosed that unsuspecting public would then deposit various amounts of money. All this is done without the knowledge of high-profile personality.

“At the end, UGX 8,380,000 was fraudulently obtained by the perpetrators. Through tracking, the perpetrators were arrested and charged to court.

Other statistics and insights on the Annual Crime Report 2019

Organised crime

Organised criminal syndicates committed heinous crimes within the regions of Kampala Metropolitan Policing Area, Greater Masaka, and Busoga areas. I am happy to report that in 2019, a total of ten criminal syndicates were dismantled, their members arrested and charged accordingly, and others have been sentenced to death by hanging.

Fire and rescue emergencies

There was a 1.9% decrease in cases of fire emergencies handled in 2019. There were 24 false calls responded to by the Fire and Rescue Services Directorate, this does not only put the lives of our officers in danger but is also a waste of resources and time for the Force.

“I urge the citizens of our country to desist from making false calls about fire emergencies,” IGP Ochola cautioned

Traffic and Road Safety

 The report revealed that there was a 0.4% increase in the number of crashes reported from 12,805 in 2018 to 12,858 in 2019, out of which 3,407 were fatal, 5,992 were serious and 3,459 were minor.

With special thanks to President Museveni for his unending guidance and support to the Uganda Police Force, IGP Ochola extended his appreciation to Uganda Police top management, Director CID, Crime Data Management Department and all UPF records officers throughout the country for putting together this work.

“Finally, my appreciation goes to all men and women of the Uganda Police Force for your tireless efforts amidst challenges of fighting crime. Keep up the spirit,” IGP Ochola adjourned the launch of the report.

About Post Author