Detectives from the Directorate of Criminal Investigations in collaboration with the US Embassy in Kampala, are investigating an incident in which 11 Visa applicants, allegedly submitted fraudulent documents for US Visas to the Embassy.
SCP Enanga Fred the Police Spokesperson says that two Diplomatic Notes dated 21.06.2022 and 4.07.2022, were issued by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, using fraudulent or falsified police certificates.
The attached police certificates that are alleged to have been signed by an unknown person on behalf of the Director for Interpol and International Relations, were established to be a forgery.
It is further noted that the Diplomatic Note issued on the 21.06.2022, was signed by Opio Innocent, a 1st Secretary at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. He however, did not give clear reasons for issuing the Diplomatic Note.
The second Diplomatic Note dated 4.07.2022, was signed by Wandera Emmanuel a Foreign Service Officer, at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. He claimed to have signed the document after correcting an error on the original document, allegedly signed by his superior. He however, did not notify him of the changes.
All the 11 applicants were fronted as police officers going for a training course in Washington D.C in the US. Out of the 11 applicants, 10 were established to be civilians, while one police officer, used false information, claiming he was a detective attached to CID Headquarters, yet he was a police driver.
“It is also surprising that the Diplomatic Notes were delivered to the US Embassy, by a one Kiwanuka Louise Mary, a courier at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, after informally receiving them from an intermediary, known as Odong John Baptist, who was not an employee at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. We are investigating the entire racket for issuing Diplomatic Notes, in total disregard to the guidelines issued by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, as well as inquiries in utterance of false documents and conspiracy. We have also re-instituted a similar case file, which was opened against Opio Innocent, for issuance of fraudulent Diplomatic Notes in 2017,” says Enanga.
According to the police mouth piece, the investigations show that a number of travel agents, intermediaries in conspiracy with rogue officials, were submitting fraudulent applications for US visas at a cost.
They compile profiles with forged work experience, bank documents, birth certificates, police certificates, marriage certificates among others, to help applicants acquire student visas, study visa’s and resident visas among others.
Enanga says that all intending applicants for US visas or any other visas to travel abroad, should know that Visa applicants are assessed on merit. Therefore, all applicants must ensure they meet the immigration rules. Those that are not eligible, are advised not to apply for the Visa, or use forgeries, due to the many consequences including travel bars, confiscation of passports, criminal investigation and court action.
In addition, Enanga warns that applicants must ensure they obtain the right information from the official portal of the respective Embassy, other than using fraudulent agents, or intermediaries, who sometimes submit falsified documents with or without the knowledge of the applicants.
“They must always ensure, they have clearly read the rules and guidelines by themselves so that they know what documents are required and can collate them together by themselves. We want to thank the US Embassy for their continued cooperation in supporting the investigations against perpetrators of the forged documents. Out of the 11 applicants, 3 travelled to the US and are wanted, two were arrested, 3 have their passports pending at the US Embassy and 3 had not submitted their documents,” he added.