UCC must investigate widespread claims of fraudulent charges by Telecom Companies.

Kampala, 18TH/July/2016, Unwanted witness Uganda has petitioned Uganda’s telecom regulator, Uganda communications commission (UCC) calling for an urgent investigation into widespread swindling of Ugandans’ hard earned cash by telecom companies through dropped calls, unsolicited messages and caller tunes among others.

The petition filed on July 14th particularly mentions MTN Uganda and Africell as companies whose subscribers have registered the highest complaints.

Many Ugandans have for years fallen victim to this telecom scam without any intervention from the regulator who is legally mandated to oversee operations of service providers as well as regulating communication services in the country.

According to section 5 (b) of Uganda Communications Act 2013, UCC is mandated to monitor, inspect, license supervise, control and regulate communication services in the country. But close to 3years now since the coming into force of this act, telecom companies have continued to plunder Ugandans for no service offered without being abated.

Unwanted Witness is therefore concerned that if such vices continue unchecked by the relevant authorities, it will greatly impact on the advancement of technology as a tool for development in Uganda.

“Technology for development is embedded in government’s vision 2040 and this can only be realized if all obstacles to technological utilization by the citizens are addressed by different players, Says, Jeff Wokulira Ssebaggala, Unwanted Witness Chief Executive Officer.

He noted that Unwanted Witness has recorded several complaints from different telecom subscribers whose service providers have either cheated them via voice calls or mobile data. Ssebaggala adds that the practice does not only undermine the country’s technology development but also violates citizens’ consumer Rights as enshrined in the UN Guidelines for consumer protection.

Unwanted Witness thus makes the following recommendations to Uganda communications Commission.

  1. UCC should privately investigate these claims before formerly referring them to telecom companies being mentioned in the petition.
  2. Establish an independent consumer protection unit within the commission for timely response to claims.
  3. Evoke section 1 (K) of the communications Act 2013 to check quality of service offered by telecom companies to the public.

Unwanted witness Uganda is a civil society organization that advocates for safe and accessible online platforms for the realization of human rights and good governance in Uganda.