By Arthur Arnold Wadero
The director of Citizenship and Immigration Control, Maj Gen Kasita Gowa, has revealed that there have been attempts by unknown people to break into the passport system but indicated they had moved to address the challenge.Addressing journalists at the Immigration offices in Kampala on Monday, Gen Kasita said their information technology department has managed to frustrate the hacking attempts and efforts are underway to strengthen the existing systems.“With technology, you know that other people are also devising ways of trying to get or hack into your systems. So we have those challenges and we have to keep abreast with the variant changes,” Gen Kasita said.“But we so far have a good IT [Information Technology] team to address those challenges and the mechanics of people trying to hack into our systems,” he added without giving details.In September last year, officials at the Directorate of Citizenship and Immigration Control (DCIC) expressed concern over growing cases of fraud in passports and work permits.In 2018, the government launched the digital passport but applicants seeking passports continued to flock the Ministry of Internal Affairs offices until the e-application process was activated. The electronic application system was launched in December last year and there have been allegations of people attempting to hack into the system and make counterfeits.
EffortsTo this end, the Ministry of Internal Affairs has resolved to automate services at immigration offices to, among other things, lock out the fraudsters.“We are embracing automation and most of our services are now online in order to advance this organisation. So I think that is going to be the hallmark so that we desist from handling finances and people be able to track whatever facility that they are requesting for,” Gen Kasita said.“Along the way, they have to keep doing training in order to keep abreast of what is going on and also to show that they are capable of moving from one level to another,” he added.Government has partnered with the International Organisation for Immigration , the United Nations Development Programme , and Government of Japan to conduct the training of immigration officials. Mr Jacob Siminyu, the Ministry of Internal Affairs spokesperson, revealed that the training will be conducted at the Immigration Training Academy in Nakasongola District. He said staff will be trained on terrorism, money laundering, and human trafficking, among other areas, that comprise what he called trans-national crime.