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Passport Fraudsters Persist Despite Covert Security Operations

Simon Peter Mundeyi

For the past five weeks, the Directorate of Citizenship and Immigration Control (DCIC), has been deploying covert security operatives to arrest passport fraudsters operating in the ministry of internal affairs but the vice persists.

 

In fact close to 20 people, according to the ministry of internal affairs spokesperson Simon Peter Mundeyi, have been arrested for defrauding unsuspecting passport applicants, especially outside the institution’s headquarters along port bell road.

 

The con-artists are still on rampage, victimizing passports applicants including senior government officials. Mundeyi revealed a shocking incident that happened a few days ago when a senior ministry official was defrauded of 2 million Shillings by a young conman who offered to help him get an express passport.

 

It is said that the official who was scheduled to travel in less than 10 days was duped by the young man who disguised as DCIC official standing near the entrance of the ministry. The fraudster hoodwinked the officer and led him towards the abattoir side claiming he was going to help him get the express passport in just hours.

 

Mundeyi explains that the officer was told to wait but the culprit just walked through the nearby buildings and varnished in thin air.

 

“After waiting for close to five hours, he walked in protesting that he had been cheated,” Mundeyi said. “We have always told people to be very careful with whoever smiles at them claiming to be the ministry’s workers without a uniform. It is shameful that a senior government officer was cheated in such a manner.”

The scamming of a senior government officer comes barely four weeks after a daughter of a senior security officer was among the 60 people conned within the ministry of internal affairs premises.

 

Police sources said the cheating of a daughter to a senior security officer was the basis for deploying covert security operations from Crime Intelligence and Chieftaincy of Military Intelligence (CMI).

 

In order to minimize fraud incidents, especially to people seeking express passports, Mundeyi said such applicants should always move direct to immigration officers inside the ministry and they will be guided accordingly.

 

“Whether you are sick or have an urgent travel, just approach our officers inside the ministry, they will help you at no cost,” Mundeyi said. “Once one asks for money, please report to a nearby immigration officer or police officer immediately.”

 

Express passport seekers must have supporting documents. In case of a medical emergency, one must have supporting documents assigned and approved by a credible health facility. The same goes for invitations to international conferences, business trips, employment or study opportunities abroad.

 

Other than obtaining supporting documents, one must be ready to pay 400,000 Shillings instead of 250,000. Mundeyi says once such documents are obtained, any immigration officer can help you to get an express passport without going through brokers.

 

DCIC says in most cases, applicants who have been cheated by brokers are those who have urgent travels. Mundeyi urges people to always apply for passports early enough rather than waiting when they have urgent trips.

 

“The problem we have in this country is that people apply for passports only when they have travels,” Mundeyi said. “This is why conmen see them in panic and they take advantage. Imagine out of 43 million people in this country, only 1,561,000 have passports according to our records!”

 

Julius Kanuuma, who possess the electronic Machine Readable Passport (e-Passport) which he acquired in 2019 says he regrets why he spent his 250,000 Shillings to get it. Kanuuma explains that he was motivated by a job deal abroad and he acquired the passport. But after getting the passport, Kanuuma says someone asked him to pay 15million Shillings fr the job and he abandoned the deal because he didn’t have the money.

 

Latest population figures by Uganda Bureau of Statistics (UBOS) show the country has over 43,700,000 people. But of these, only 1,561,000 have passports as of today’s records at DCIC according to Mundeyi. This means only about 2 percent of the population has passports.

 

Emma Semambo, who deals in solar power distribution, says he will apply for a passport only when he gets a travel opportunity. Semambo says he cannot ‘waste’ his 250,000 Shillings to get a document which cannot add value to him since whatever he needs is solved with the National ID.

-URN

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