“I paid Shillings 600,000 on top of the 250,000 that I had paid because I was desperate. I needed to travel urgently and was told booklets were running out. I had no option. I would rather pay the money than miss the conference I was going to attend," she said.
36, a resident of Kireka, a Kampala suburb landed an invitation to a conference
in the United States of America. She decided to process an ordinary passport,
which costs Shillings 250,000. Among, however, says that she was told that the
passport booklets were running out and had to pay additional money to
immigration officials to get a passport.
“I paid Shillings
600,000 on top of the 250,000 that I had paid because I was desperate. I needed
to travel urgently and was told booklets were running out. I had no option. I
would rather pay the money than miss the conference I was going to
attend," she said.
Among is not
alone. John Menya, also a resident of
Kampala wanted to travel for a business trip, which needed a passport, and
decided to process one. Menya explains that he had to fork out more money to
secure the passport.
"Nali omu kubanauganda...
Elizabeth Sande, 67, who recently spent 3 hours at the passport office
describes the situation as embarrassing. According to Sande, immigration
officers no longer have shame since they are the ones who help people beat the
"It's not first...
applicant who is yet to receive their passport explained that the immigration
officers work with different people including the security officers deployed at
the offices, travel agents, and labor export firms to skirt the system.
pay the money, you are directed to a police officer who helps arrange for you
the interview with a collaborating officer. Ideally, when you arrive at the
passport office, you are given a number and have to wait for your turn but once
you pay, you don’t have to follow the system,” said the source.
people interviewed by URN say they either paid extra money or received help
from immigration officers to secure their passports. Such
connections ensured that they escaped the ugly experience of standing in long
queues that have become the norm at the passport office. Immigration officials interviewed
by our reporter about the bribery scam around the passport offices vehemently
denied the allegations.
In a recent press conference, Simon Mundeyi,
the spokesperson of the internal affairs ministry, said that their system is incorruptible.
He explained that while many members of the public have tried to bypass the
system, the use of barcodes and system-generated appointments makes it
impossible for anyone including immigration officers to bypass it.
"Eno office yafe...
source at the immigration directorate who preferred to remain anonymous confirmed
the accounts of Menya and Sande. “It's true all these things are happening and
even the bosses know because recently there was a big reshuffle. People were
moved to different offices but this has not changed anything because some
officers are still getting money without feeling any shame," the source
the officer, many people are paying money because they are being told that
passport booklets are running out. "There's a ring of people inside here
who go out there and target people telling them such stories. So desperate
people get the money and give it to them. They get the person's name and fast-track their application process using the money they paid. The money is given
to different people in different offices to make sure the passport, which
should take ten days comes out in three or five days," the source said.
however refutes such claims, saying that the country has enough passport
booklets. He however attributes the slow process to the scaling-down of their
services caused by technical glitches in their printing machines.
been hearing claims on social media indicating we are running out of passports
but that is not true. We have so many passport booklets. There will be no time
when passports will run out from the ministry because we plan for the demand
and stock for our people," he said.
money is exchanging hands due to the shortage of passport booklets or technical
glitches, many unsuspecting Ugandans are being fleeced by persons believed to be
immigration officers. Records from the immigration department show that over
460,000 Ugandans are yet to renew their passports while millions have never
applied for a passport.
According to the Directorate of Citizenship and
Immigration Control, ordinary passports cost Shillings 250,000 while an express
passport costs Shillings 400,000. It should take around 10 days for one to be
able to access the ordinary passport after applying and paying the mandatory fees while the express passport takes three days maximum.