NIRA to arrest money lenders taking national IDs as collateral

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Kampala, Uganda | By Michael Wandati | The National Identification and Registration Authority (NIRA) and Police have started operations against money lenders confiscating National Identity Cards as collateral to acquire loans.

Osborn Mushabe, the NIRA spokesperson said many money lenders have continued to defy warnings and have continued taking National IDs as collateral for loans.

Mushabe said a decision to raid money lending shops has been taken after seeing more adverts coming up where the public is being encouraged to get loans using their National IDs as security.

“More adverts are coming up advising the public to get loans using their National IDs. We warned these people to stop it but they have not respected the warning,” says Mushabe.

Money lenders who demand for National IDs as security usually give their clients money ranging from 50,000 shillings to 500,000 shillings. However, many people have been getting police letters claiming that their National IDs got lost yet they used them as security for quick loans.

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“We have found ourselves in a situation where some people have more than one Identity card. This is because they used the first ID to get loans and they decided to say it was lost. This illegal and we have noticed it is being fuelled by money lenders. We shall charge all money lenders we shall find with National IDs used as security,” added Mushabe.

However, NIRA and police are likely to face public resistance as many people have said banks demand for property as security for even small amounts like 500,000 shillings.

Cissy Nalukwago, said her food stall needed only 300,000 shillings to recapitalize, but the banks were asking her to present so many things to secure a loan.

“I called Joseph (money lender) and he told me just to give him my National ID as security. I got the money in less than two hours. My food stall is now operating and I’m paying back,” explains Nalukwago, a resident of Nsambya, Makindye Division, in Kampala. Many other people have vowed to continue using their National IDs as security for quick loans.

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“We individuals who willingly give their National IDs to get loans will be charged. After getting our National IDs from these money lenders, we shall look for the owners who will also to be charged,” added Mushabe.

He also reminded Ugandans that giving or being in possession of another person’s national document such as a National ID is a crime and they’ll be charged under the section 76 of the NIRA Act.

“It is very risky to give your National ID to another person. These money lenders can use it to commit crimes or sign documents using your National ID details,” warned Mushabe.

A number of suspects have been arrested with Sim Cards registered using other people’s National ID details.