Immigration staff interdictions linked to money, contract

Kampala- Two top Immigration officials whom President Museveni interdicted on Wednesday had long been placed under secret investigation by government spy agencies as well as the Ombudsman, this newspaper can reveal.

The director for Citizenship and Immigration, Mr Godfrey Sasaga, and the Commissioner for Immigrations Commissioner, Mr Anthony Namara, are, among other things, being probed over allegations of corruption and embezzlement.

President Museveni also directed the Criminal Investigations Directorate to inquire whether the officials were complicit in alleged mishandling of visa fees, irregular issuance of passports and other work permits.

This, according to officials familiar with the matter, said the police and IGG investigations are being conducted with the view of instituting probable criminal prosecution against the duo.

Highly-placed government sources told this newspaper that the immediate trigger of the interdiction was the questionable handling of the Shs13b e-passports contract, and followed a protest to the President by a close associate of the First family.

It is alleged the President was briefed that Immigration officials claimed to have awarded the lucrative contract, which would include provision of a software to connect all border posts, to Spanish company Gemalto whereas not.

Detectives are inquiring into whether the reported false declaration, which pushed Germany firm Veridos into panic, was calculated to apply pressure on the competing firms to offer kickbacks.

The President has previously written in favour of Veridos being considered to, among other things, print notes of Uganda currency, passports and all official documents and substitute the work of the Entebbe-based Uganda Printing and Publishing Corporation.

Uganda currently prints its notes in the United Kingdom while the passport are printed in Malta.

“We are investigating them (suspended) Immigrations officials,” the Inspector General of Government, Ms Irene Mulyagonja, said yesterday. She provided no specifics.

According to sources at Internal Affairs, the bureaucrats are in trouble over the alleged abuse of money collected in visa and work permit fees.

President Museveni has directed the Director of Criminal Investigations Directorate, Ms Grace Akullo, to investigate the matter.

The Internal Affairs PS did not receive or return our repeated telephone calls.
Immigration Spokesperson, Mr Jacob Siminyu, too didn’t respond to our inquiries.

Earlier in the day, the State Internal Affairs minister Mario Obiga Kania, who is on an official visit in India, confirmed that President Museveni had ordered interdiction of the two top Immigrations officials.

“I heard about it; they are interdicted, yes,” he said, adding that he was yet to be briefed in detail on the matter.

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