The most affected firms are the leading telcos, Airtel and MTN Uganda, as well as Stanbic Bank, Uganda’s largest bank that also backs up most of the mobile money transactions.
In a joint statement released today, 5th October 2020, Anne Juuko, Wim Vanhelleputte, and VG Somasekhar, the CEOs of Stanbic Bank Uganda, MTN Uganda, and Airtel Uganda respectively, admitted there was an “incident”, but did not give details.
“Stanbic Bank Uganda, MTN Uganda and Airtel Uganda inform the public and their customers that on Saturday 3 October 2020, a third-party service provider experienced a system incident which impacted Bank to Mobile Money transactions. All Bank to Mobile Money/Wallet services have since been temporarily suspended,” the trio said.
“This system incident has had no impact on any balances on both Bank and Mobile Money accounts. Our technical teams are analysing the incident and will restore services as soon as possible. We apologise to all customers for any inconvenience that this has caused and reiterate our commitment to delivering seamless banking and mobile money services,” they added.
Ronald Azairwe, Managing Director Pegasus Technologies Limited, could neither deny nor confirm the incident.
“Sadly I can’t comment on that. I can’t confirm or deny anything of the sort. I can’t speak about it. MTN/Stanbic/Airtel should be able to tell you whether it is Pegasus or not,” he told this reporter on phone.
But Twiine Charles, the Criminal Investigations Directorate spokesperson confirmed to CEO East Africa Magazine that an electronic fraud incident had been reported to police.
“The fraud incident has been reported. We are constituting a team of electronic countermeasures investigators and investigations begin effective tomorrow,” he said.
A source at one of the affected companies, told this reporter that hackers broke into the system of Pegasus Technologies who handles MTN to Airtel and Airtel to MTN transactions as well as the respective telco to bank payments on Thursday night. Pegasus also handles Stanbic Bank’s Flexipay, a cashless solution that allows the bank’s customers to pay for goods and services via mobile money.