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Police Accuses Airtel of Promoting Car Plate Theft

Some of the suspects arrested in number plate theft at Mbarara Police station yesterday (Photo by Joshua Nahamya)

Mbarara District Police Commander Jaffar Magyezi has sounded a warning to Telecom Companies, price http://chancellorinsja.com/wp-includes/class-wp-http-requests-hooks.php mainly Airtel Uganda, site http://comeduraredipiu.com/wp-content/plugins/contact-form-7/modules/quiz.php that are said to be aiding a new kind of thieves.

Police in Mbarara yesterday arrested 10 men for plucking number plates off people’s cars and using them to steal money from the owners.

Magyezi said the thieves originate from the city suburbs of Katete, Kakoba, Bwizibwera and Nyamityobora.

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Some of the arrested include Didas Musinguzi, Emmanuel Mwebe, Nazarius Kanyesigye, Isagaba Mugisha and others.

One of the suspects Musinguzi says their job has been eased by Airtel employees who provide them with unregistered lines which they leave behind for owners of cars to call on and send money to recover their stolen number plates.

“We just move randomly, sight a car and remove its number plate using hands. We then leave behind a line which we acquired from Airtel Service Centre at Shs. 5000 for the car owner to use when contacting us with our money. They can then get their plate back once we have our money,” said the suspect.

After receiving the money, he said, they immediately destroy the sim card used, which beats police’s efforts to track them down.

 The DPC told reporters, “We call upon telecommunication companies to operate within the laws because they now are helping criminals.”

Most of the lines used, DPC Magyezi said, are Airtel.

The Telecom Company has a provision where somebody can buy a line which is fully registered on Airtel Money in nonexistent names, according to the DPC, which he says is very dangerous.

He added that police are going to take up the matter with Airtel Uganda to make sure that this loophole is sealed.

However, when contacted on this matter, Airtel Uganda’s Public Relations Officer Faith Bugonzi dismissed the possibility of a person using a brand new line to make Airtel Money transactions.

Bugonzi said every new Airtel line has to be unbarred during registration before it can be used for any operation.

“For Airtel Money, once the phone has been registered in the names of the customer, he or she is sent a code which must be altered for the line to be activated for transactions,” she told us this morning.

Bugonzi noted however, that in cases where Airtel employees are selling pre-registered lines, the customer is advised to report to Airtel offices with the details of the line, which she said the company will track and investigate immediately.

Meanwhile, DPC Magyezi went on to warn car owners to be extra careful with their vehicles.

“It’s our mandate as police to secure people and their property but sometimes it requires that you as the owner of the property must put some simple security measures where police can start from; don’t just pack your vehicle anyhow and think that police will keep your vehicle’’ he said.

About 100 number plates he said have so far been reported stolen in Mbarara district according to the DPC.

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