Directorate of Citizenship and Immigration Control –DCIC managers are baffled by supposedly intelligent people who continue to be fleeced of millions in pursuit of passports to which they are not only entitled, but which they can easily get by investing an extra$40 (150,000 shillings).
DCIC is getting about 15 complaints a week from senior personalities after they have been coned of millions of shillings by ‘smart’ young men hanging around Old Port Bell purporting to be officers capable of helping them get passports quickly.
Flabbergasted, the Internal Affairs spokesman Simon Peter Mundeyi this week disclosed to the media that some 20 persons have been arrested in about a month for fleecing the passport applicants. The most shocking was a week ago when a senior commissioner in the agriculture minister was made to pay ugx2m (two million shillings) by a conman posing as a Good Samaritan who approached him and offered to process for him quickly since he had an urgent foreign trip.
Instead of going to any office in the immigration directorate and explaining the urgency of his case, the commissioner instead followed the conman who led him towards lufula (the city abattoir), and took his two million. After five hours of the “Good Samaritan” not coming back, the commissioners came to his senses and stormed the immigration offices (where he should have gone in the first place) quarreling over the delay.
Mundeyi belaboured to explain for the umpteenth time that all immigration officers on duty must be in uniform and nobody should deal with any person in lay dressing regarding passport matters.
Secondly, he repeats that whoever has a justifiable need to seek urgent handling of their application is free to approach any uniformed immigration officer to be guided.
And finally, whoever wants to have their passport processed quickly just needs to pay 400,000 instead of ugx 250,000 and they will not have to line up or wait for the usual one month.
DCIC recently allowed the deployment of operatives from Chieftaincy of Military Intelligence –CMI and Police CID on the premises reportedly after a general’s daughter was fleeced by the conmen. The operatives have been arresting the conmen but more still come because the crowds of people seeking passports are too lucrative for the thieves to resist.
The surge was caused by the mass expiry of all the1.5million Uganda passports on April 4th this year upon the introduction of the new East African one which has higher security features. Although the government through DCIC had been telling Ugandans to apply for the renewal/conversion to the new passport, people were apathetic mostly because of the nearly two years of almost no travel due to the lockdown. Now every potential traveler needs a passport, hence the demand.