Telecom giants Airtel and MTN Uganda have announced a temporary suspension of mobile money services due to some interruptions in their systems over the weekend.
According to local media reports, unknown hackers broke into the system of Pegasus Technologies making away with an unspecified amount of money belonging to several companies including banks and the telcos.
Pegasus Technologies is the company that oversees money transfers between banks, telcos and accounts of mobile money subscribers.
The company’s flagship product, PegPay payments platform which is used by several institutions including banks, telecoms and utility companies and retailers such as Pay-TV, helps aggregate and manage financial transactions for both internal and external purposes.
“Stanbic Bank Uganda, MTN Uganda and Airtel Uganda inform the public and 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,” a joint statement by the affected telcos and Stanbic Bank read.
The three companies however assured their customers that there was no impact on their monies.
“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.”
However, in another joint statement by Airtel and MTN Uganda, the telecom companies announced a temporary suspension of mobile money services between the two networks.
“MTN Uganda and Airtel Uganda wish to inform the public and their customers that due to unprecedented technical challenges, mobile money services between the two networks are temporarily suspended. Our technical teams are working together to resolve the challenges and restore the services as soon as possible,” the joint statement said.
Whereas the three companies say nothing was lost, it is suspected that huge sums of money were taken by the unidentified hackers who broke into the companies systems.
The Annual Police crime report for the year 2019 released in May indicated that criminals stole 438 million shillings (Ghs 23.4 million) from dfcu Bank and 800 million (Ghs 42.7 million) from Centenary Bank and that in both incidents, the money was transferred to mobile money accounts.