Kampala – The National Identification Registration Authority (NIRA) and the Police have begun working together to prevent the misuse of National Identity Cards.
According to Osborn Mushabe, the NIRA spokesperson, many money lenders have ignored warnings and continued to use National IDs as collateral for loans. The decision to conduct raids on money lending establishments comes in response to an increasing number of advertisements encouraging the public to obtain loans by using their National IDs.
“We have noticed more ads advising people to get loans using their National IDs. We warned these individuals to stop, but they did not comply,” said Mushabe.
Money lenders typically offer loans ranging from 50,000 to 500,000 shillings in exchange for National IDs as security. However, some individuals have reported receiving police notices claiming that their National IDs were lost, even though they used them as loan collateral.
“We have discovered that some people possess multiple identity cards. They used the first ID to secure a loan and then falsely claimed it was lost. This is illegal, and money lenders seem to be encouraging it. We will take legal action against any money lenders found using National IDs as security,” Mushabe added.
However, this joint effort by NIRA and the police may face resistance from the public, as many people have stated that banks demand significant collateral, even for small loan amounts like 500,000 shillings.
Cissy Nalukwago, a resident of Nsambya, Makindye Division, in Kampala, explained that she needed only 300,000 shillings to restart her food stall. However, banks required her to provide extensive collateral.
“I contacted Joseph, a money lender, and he asked for my National ID as security. Within two hours, I had the money, and my food stall is back in business. I am now repaying the loan,” Nalukwago said. Many others have expressed their intention to continue using their National IDs as collateral for quick loans.
Mushabe emphasized that individuals who willingly give their National IDs to obtain loans would face charges. Additionally, if NIRA retrieves National IDs from money lenders, they will identify the owners, who may also face charges.
He also reminded Ugandans that possessing or giving someone else’s national document, such as a National ID, is a crime, subject to section 76 of the NIRA Act.
Mushabe issued a warning, stating, “It is highly risky to entrust your National ID to another person. Money lenders could use it for illegal activities or fraudulent document signing.” Several suspects have already been arrested for using National ID details to register SIM cards for fraudulent purposes.