Ugandans Abroad Selling Passports to Criminals for Shs 18m

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Ugandan nationals living or working abroad and have lost their passports must return home for replacements, the Ministry of Internal Affairs has said.

Simon Peter Mundeyi, spokesperson for the Ministry of Internal Affairs, said countries have been complaining about Ugandan passports landing in the hands of criminals. The Directorate of Citizenship and Immigration Control (DCIC) says some Ugandans in the diaspora sell their passports to strangers for $5000 (about Shs 18m) purposely to execute their criminal activities.

Mundeyi further expounded that many countries in Europe and Asia find it difficult to differentiate between Africans from different African countries.

“Ugandans losing passports must return. The passports were being sold to fraudsters and they were used in crime. In some of these countries differentiating Africans would be difficult. They would sell at $5,000. It was easy for them to get these passports. Working with these foreign governments, we resolved that anybody who claims he has lost a passport must return home so that thorough investigations are done,” Mundeyi said.

DCIC has said Ugandans in the diaspora will no longer acquire new passports or replacements at the embassies in their respective countries. The embassies can only be used for collecting a passport whose details have been captured from home.

However, those seeking renewal for expired passports do not need to travel back as they can be served by the embassies because they will have presented the outdated one.

Meanwhile, DCIC has said plans to replace all immigration officers attached to different embassies are complete. The embassies whose immigration staff are set to be replaced after the end of their four-year contract in August this year include Ottawa in Canada, Pretoria in South Africa, Washington in the US, Copenhagen in Denmark, London in UK and Abu Dhabi in UAE.

DCIC which is headed by Maj Gen Apollo Kasiita-Gowa has also warned foreigners against falling into the tricks of fraudsters disguised as immigration staff. According to DCIC, fraudsters dressed to kill wave down foreigners on motorcycles and in cars around the City Abattoir at Old Port Bell and former Electoral Commission offices.

“Fraudsters posing as immigration officers are now targeting foreigners. They have counterfeit immigration IDS. They have been designed to defraud foreigners. They hide around the abattoir and former EC. They flag them when they come on motorcycles. They threaten and sometimes arrest people,” Mundeyi said.

Also, DCI has deported 82 illegal foreigners from America, Burundi, Rwanda, Tanzania and DRC. Mundeyi said the deportees had illegally stayed in the country without bothering to renew their expired work and resident permits.

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