Mobile Money declared illegal in Uganda
Banking is no longer a thing of the financially upright in our society today. You do not need to show up with a title deed and all the weird documentation for you to be counted an account holder. This is thanks to mobile banking.
M-Pesa being the most common way of describing mobile money transactions in Kenya, everyone wants to M-Pesa rent, M-pesa electricity bill, pay for goods and services through the platform and M-Pesa goes on and on. The mobile platform used by a majority of Kenyans transacting cash amounts has turned out the pillar of many businesses and organizations.
Also, mobile money platforms have closed distance between individuals across the country and now the East African region. Following partnerships between banks and the mobile money platforms, individuals can also access their bank accounts for either withdrawal or deposit. It is almost a service most of us cannot do without.
However, according to a commercial court in Uganda, Mobile money has been declared illegal. MTN, Warid, Uganda Telecom, Airtel and Africell have been declared illegal businesses following a filed petition and declaration to have mobile money regulated under the Financial institutions Act.
County MP Mr. Abdu Kaluntu argues that the five major telcos providing the mobile money platforms are registered as telecommunication companies and not financial institutions. Justice Christopher Madrama of the commercial court in Kampala agrees that although mobile money platforms are operating as financial institutions, they are not licensed by Bank of Uganda or any other commercial bank.
The Bugweri county MP who wanted a declaration that the mobile money services are currently operating outside the license given to them by the Uganda Communications Commissions to operate as telecommunication companies has been urged to raise the issue before a tribunal established by Uganda Communication Commission since the crime to transact a financial business illegally can only be handled by Director of Public Prosecutions.
The Judge put it clear that even though their operation is illegal, the court has no jurisdiction to ask Bank of Uganda to license mobile money as a financial institution. Expressing dissatisfaction, Mr. Katuntu has vowed to appeal within the next 14 days.