Tuesday, April 30, 2024

UCC Calls for Transparency in Data Sold to Ugandan Consumers

During a town hall meeting, the Uganda Communication Commission (UCC) took a stand for transparency in data processes within the telecommunications industry. Highlighting consumer frustrations over data inconsistencies, Nyombi Thembo, the UCC executive director, reiterated the regulator's dedication to safeguarding consumer rights while fostering industry growth.

Thembo emphasized the fundamental rights of consumers, ranging from access to quality services and privacy to clear billing and competitive offers. He stressed the importance of upfront communication of terms and conditions by service providers and prompt resolution of grievances.

To empower consumers further, the commission is developing mechanisms for self-monitoring data consumption trends. "The commission is developing mechanisms to have consumers self-monitor their data consumption trends, which they believe will reduce the number of complaints about data inconsistencies. The commission is assessing a variety of tools where we should select one that will put the monitoring of data usage and its quality in the hands of the consumers,” he stated.

Acknowledging persistent complaints despite operator efforts, David Birungi, Airtel's head of communications, attributed issues to smartphone users' lack of understanding. Airtel plans to intensify subscriber sensitization and community outreaches to bridge this gap.

Regarding data costs, Birungi highlighted Uganda's competitive rates but advocated for reducing smartphone taxes to boost adoption. “Uganda is one of the countries that have competitive rates of data. The average cost of a GB is about 2000 Shillings. The most important conversation we should have is how to reduce that cost; by increasing the number of people who are using smartphones. It’s like having a bus of 25 people and you are only three people on it, you pay the full cost of hiring that bus. Right now, only 33 percent of Ugandans use smartphones on a network that stretches from Nebbi to Kitgum to Bujjiji to Kabaale.”

UCC's advocacy for transparency and consumer empowerment mirrors its commitment to addressing data-related frustrations and elevating telecommunications services across Uganda. With concerted efforts from regulators and industry players, the future promises greater clarity and satisfaction for telecom consumers.

Wednesday, April 3, 2024

ExxonMobil Foundation and JA Africa Launch $300,000 STEM Program Across Africa

The ExxonMobil Foundation, in collaboration with JA Africa, has unveiled the "ExxonMobil STEM Africa" initiative, a groundbreaking $300,000 program aimed at fostering science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) skills among approximately 3,000 African students spanning Nigeria, Namibia, Angola, and Mozambique.

The primary objective of the initiative is to equip middle and high school students with the necessary skills for future STEM careers through immersive quizzes and hands-on experiences at Innovation Camps. These camps, facilitated by JA Africa, will introduce innovative approaches to tackling STEM-related challenges.

"Enhancing students’ STEM proficiency is pivotal in nurturing the next generation of problem solvers across Africa," remarked Alvin Abraham, President of the ExxonMobil Foundation. "We are eager to witness how these young talents apply their newfound knowledge and skills through our program."

Participating teams with the most outstanding STEM solutions will have the opportunity to represent their respective countries at a prominent regional industry conference in Cape Town, South Africa. This platform will afford students invaluable cross-cultural exposure, insights into global energy dynamics, and the chance to present their ideas while networking with industry experts.

"In a world where technology and innovation drive economic progress, Africa's role in pioneering technological advancements is vital for maintaining competitiveness and fostering sustainable development," noted Simi Nwogugu, President and CEO of JA Africa. 

"We express gratitude to the ExxonMobil Foundation for this collaboration aimed at nurturing STEM competencies to shape the future of Africa."

To delve deeper into the program and its impact, interested parties can visit

Director of Safari Company Remanded in 326.9 Million Shilling Fraud Case

In a dramatic turn of events, Sheenah Ndamiya, the Director of Kadodi 256 Ndamiya Safaris Limited, found herself at the center of a legal storm as she faced charges of electronic fraud amounting to a staggering 326.9 million shillings.

The Buganda Road Chief Magistrates Court buzzed with anticipation as Ndamiya, also known as Namara, was brought before Grade One Magistrate Winnie Nankya Jatiko on Tuesday.

The courtroom hushed as the prosecution detailed Ndamiya's alleged misdeeds. It was revealed that between January 2018 and February 25th, 2018, in the heart of Kampala City, Ndamiya, using deception, orchestrated a fraudulent online transaction on Pegasus Technology Limited's payment platform, claiming it was payment for services rendered by Kadodo 256 Ndamiya Safari Limited to various Visa Card owners.

Adding to the gravity of the situation, Ndamiya was further charged with receiving stolen property, with prosecutors alleging that the ill-gotten funds were funneled through her account at Stanbic Bank Uganda Limited.

The prosecution, led by the formidable Allan Mucunguzi, wasted no time in asserting that investigations were thorough and complete, urging the court to set a hearing date. As tension mounted, Ndamiya was remanded to Luzira Women's Prison until April 8th, 2024.

The courtroom buzzed with murmurs as the case unfolded, reminiscent of a blockbuster legal drama. But this saga wasn't isolated; it was part of a larger narrative of cybercrime that had gripped the nation.

In 2020, the alarm was raised when Pegasus Technologies reported unauthorized access to its system, sending shockwaves through the telecommunications and banking sectors. MTN, Airtel, and Stanbic Bank were quick to acknowledge the breach in a joint statement, acknowledging the vulnerability of their aggregator's systems.

A Senior police detective at the Criminal Investigations Directorate –CID in Kibuli, speaking to Uganda Radio Network –URN, revealed a startling revelation: hackers had infiltrated Pegasus, an aggregator of major telecom and banking institutions, siphoning off funds totaling over 10 billion shillings to sim cards fraudulently registered in the name of a local company.

As the investigation unfolded, a web of suspects emerged, each playing a role in what became known as the Pegasus Fraud. 

The wheels of justice turned as those involved were brought to account, but the saga served as a stark reminder of the ever-present threat of cybercrime in the digital age.