Get armed guards, police tell mobile money agents - National | NTV

Get armed guards, police tell mobile money agents

Monday July 1, 2019

 

Police have issued an advisory to mobile money agents telling them to hire armed guards from professional security firms to protect their premises as attacks on their shops and workers reach unprecedented levels.


Kampala Metropolitan Police spokesperson Patrick Onyango said many agents are fond of carrying large sums of money late in the evening without any protection, which he says has put them in harm’s way.


“Attackers have been using this security lapse to waylay mobile money agents and rob their money. Mobile money agents should not carry large sums of money home without armed protection, especially at night,” Mr Onyango said yesterday.


Attacks on mobile money agents are on the rise with more than 37 cases reported around the country since January. At least five people have been shot dead and a dozen injured in robbery of cash from mobile money agents in just three months around Kampala Metropolitan Police Area.


He also said their investigations have revealed that mobile money agents wait until they have accumulated large sums of money before they visit the bank.


“We have advised money agents to bank small amounts of cash in intervals before the close of the day,” Mr Onyango said.


A decade ago, police used to provide escort services to business people within the city centre, who were carrying cash of more than Shs20m to and from the banks. The policy was stopped after incidents of abuse by police commanders.


Mr Tom Katamba, the chairperson of Kampala Mobile Money Dealers Association, said it is the wish of their members to have armed guards but they are unable due to low profits on the transactions.

“Most of the mobile agents get between Shs200,000 and Shs400,000 as commission a month. we cannot hire an armed guard on the commission telecommunication companies give us. Each guard is hired at Shs400,000 a month,” Mr Katamba said.


He said a few of their members who have been targeted have many shop attendants in different parts and they move around collecting money from each.


“Maybe those who can afford security guards,” he said, but added that majority cannot meet those standards because the transactions are unpredictable.


At least seven guns owned by security agencies have been recovered in operations in Kampala city.


Some of the suspects were attached to security agencies.