“UCC denies having the mandate over SIM-card registration”
Uganda’s telecommunication regulatory body, the Uganda Communications Commission (UCC) has denied responsibility of switching off unregistered SIM-cards. Its lawyer Paul Kuteesa told Court, on August 29, 2013, that instead the duty of switching off unregistered SIM-cards lies with telecommunication service providers.
“The 1st Respondent (UCC) does not have the mandate to register or switch off SIM-cards under the law,” Kuteesa of Kampala Associated Advocates submitted before Justice Yasin Nyanzi at the Kampala High Court Civil Division in a matter where Human Rights Network for Journalists-Uganda and Legal Brains Trust are seeking a temporary injunction restraining UCC from switching off unregistered SIM-cards until the main case filed by the duo is heard. This position was reiterated by the Attorney Generals representative Gerald Batanda, who also told court that such responsibilities lie with the telecommunication service providers. “The order sought is mute, it ought to be given against the service providers,” Batanda told court this morning.
Arguing on behalf of HRNJ-Uganda and LBT, Isaac Kimaze told that if UCC proceeds to switch of unregistered SIM-cards on 31 August as planned, subscribers would suffer “irreparable harm that cannot be duly compensated through the award of damages”. In February 2013, HRNJ-Uganda and Legal Brains Trust sued UCC over the failure to effectively supervise the SIM-card registration process. Both organizations argue that the process is marred with illegalities, irregularities and anomalies that have serious consequences if not addressed. Earlier in the week, the UCC Executive Director, Godfrey Mutabaazi told the press that there will be no further extension of the switch off deadline. Telecom companies are also sending out messages to their customers that their SIM-cards will be cut by UCC if they do not register them before 31st August.
Justice Yasin Nyanzi is to rule over the matter on Friday 30th at 3:30PM.
For More Information Contact;
Human Rights Network for Journalists-Uganda (HRNJ-Uganda)
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P.O.BOX. 71314 Clock Tower Kampala. Tel: +256-414-272934 / +256-414-667627
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