The Financial Intelligence Authority (FIA) has obtained four electronic card readers from the National Identification Registration Authority (NIRA), which will enable it to access personal data in the fight against money laundering.
The machines were handed to Mr Sydney Asubo, the FIA executive director by Mr Agatha Achom, the NIRA finance and administration director after signing a memorandum of understanding between the two agencies.
“This is an interim measure for verification of information provided by persons interacting with FIA. It is agreed by both parties, that real time verification of National Identification data received by FIA using card readers will enable the identification of all persons appearing before FIA,” Mr Achom said, noting that this seeks to reduce duplication of services within government as well as integrating NIRA and FIA systems for purposes of data sharing.
On his part, Mr Asubo said data gathering through NIRA is a reliant way for compliance of financial institutions as well as curbing money laundering, which as he noted, is an accountable way through which institutions can establish and verify identity of their clients.
“Client identification is very important to us. We must have credible mechanisms of identifying individuals that we deal with in our day to day transactions,” he added.
FIA is expected to start by validating money laundering officers in financial institutions such as the banks to ensure they are the right people, especially for Ugandan nationals, while aliens shall be dealt with through Ministry of Internal Affairs.
This comes at the backdrop of a recent hack into the mobile money systems in which 2,000 mobile phone simcards were used to steal billions of shillings.
The hacking into Pegasus Technologies, a third party mobile money service provider between telecoms and banks forced MTN, Airtel, Stanbic Bank and Bank of Africa to temporarily suspend their mobile money services after detecting the scam and Police has so far arrested five suspects.
Mr Asubo said Uganda’s large porous borders, a large cash economy and informal sector makes money hard to track, which contributes to money laundering cases.