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SPOTLIGHT: Accountant goes into hiding as fresh work permit fraud hits Immigration directorate

A senior accountant at the Directorate of Citizenship and Immigration Control, Steven Bakeera Kizito has gone into hiding for involvement in the fraudulent issuance of work permits to foreign nationals(PHOTO/File)

KAMPALA – A senior accountant at the Directorate of Citizenship and Immigration Control in the Ministry of Internal Affairs has gone into hiding after being implicated in the fraudulent issuance of work permits to foreign nationals, PML Daily has learnt.

Mr Steven Bakeera Kizito, who works in the Passport Payment Receipt Verification Unit, reportedly fled the office on Tuesday to evade police arrest for allegedly masterminding the wrong issuance of work permits and pocketing most of the money. Two other staff, Luke Max Omoding and Connie Sabiiti, all accounts assistants, were arrested by police on Wednesday last week in connection with the fraud.

Sources have told this website that the fraud was detected when the Directorate of Citizenship and Immigration Control was integrating their payment system with the Uganda Revenue Authority (URA).

In one instance, an internal audit conducted by the Ministry of Internal Affairs discovered there was a mismatch in the receipt number for a work permit paid by one Jitesh Bhatt, an Indian national. The payment registration number (PRN) of the work permit fees was found to have expired. Some of the forged receipts have since been recovered by police.

An internal audit is investigating the magnitude of the fraud. Sources added that the staff were working with different brokers, among them Janat Nakaggwa, an employee of MM Integrated Steel Mills factory, who has since been arrested.

When contacted, Internal Affairs ministry spokesman Jacob Siminyu confirmed the arrest and further investigation.

“Police is doing all they can to arrest the suspect,” he said in an interview.

Fraud in the Immigration department is not new. In August last year, security operatives arrested Mr Ronald Magala Ssematiko, a principal immigration officer, who is also an acting assistant commissioner of citizenship and passport control, over his alleged involvement in selling Ugandan passports to foreigners who use them to commit criminal acts.

There are reports that foreign nationals pay between $5,000 (about Shs18.4m) and $20,000 (Shs73.7m) to immigration officials to acquire Ugandan passports. These foreigners use travel documents to engage in unscrupulous activities.

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