KAMPALA – The Directorate of Citizenship and Immigration Control has cautioned Ugandans against falling into scammers’ traps purported to assist them in securing e-visas, passports or jobs-abroad.
The directorate noted that cases of passport, visa and job scammers had become rampant in recent months – with many involving youth –mainly women, intending to travel overseas in search for greener pastures. One of the latest such scams involved 17 women whom someone – claiming to be an agent of the Directorate of Citizenship and Immigration Control – conned of millions in shillings.
The Ministry of Internal Affairs Spokesperson, Simon Peter Mundeyi narrated how the conman had duped the girls – leading them to Diamond Trust Bank – DTB in Kampala where he collected the money from them and eventually disappeared.
Mundeyi added the girls sat outside the Bank and waited in vain for the person who had entered the banking hall.
This is because the passport process requires the physical presence of the applicant, and said this should be an eye-opener for anyone whenever they are asked to pay for passports without a provision for them to appear before an immigration officer.
Mundeyi said DCIC would take any responsibility for anyone conned in the passport application process. DCIC said people must always use an online application portal; pay the money through available channels – including mobile money or banks before appearing physically for fingerprinting.
Similarly, Kampala Metropolitan Police Spokesperson Patrick Onyango said that some of the tricksters would tell unsuspecting victims to find them inside banking halls, and often, those paying feel confident to hand over their money within an organised setting. He singled out a case where more than 300 people were duped in Visa and job scams by Qadar Recruitment Agency.
According to Onyango, one Micheal Karugire conned job seekers through the Agency by operating inside a banking hall where he was receiving payments for visas, tickets and jobs.
Hassan Ssempijja who was duped by Visa and job promises said he was assured of a job in South Korea and warns other people against falling into the trap of Qadar or any other agency including brokers.
Ssempijja said he sold his delivery business thinking he was going to earn 5.8 million Shillings monthly but he is now stuck and cannot trace the fraudsters.
Mundeyi has also warned Ugandans against being conned or extorted at the Airport. Travellers have been asked to always critically look at the name tags of immigration officers or any other person serving them at the Airport so that they can report in case they are being asked to pay money.