Foreigners are taking advantage of corrupt Ugandan systems to illegally stay in Uganda, Government Spokesman Ofwono Opondo has said. He says their actions are facilitated by a chain of corrupt officials in government offices, who are blinded by a few dollars to sanction illegalities.
Speaking in an interview with this publication, Ofwono Opondo pointed out that some foreigners have illegally acquired Ugandan passports after bribing the Passport Control Office.
He adds that the foreigners, who enter Uganda as tourists, front organizations and businesses that look like investments that aid them to get their way around the country and manipulate systems while importing foreign lifestyles.
Ofwono Opondo adds that many tourists are abusing Uganda’s visa regulation especially the short-term visa ‘s whose application procedure is relaxed to mainly attract tourists. He adds that a number of fraudsters take advantage of the tourism visa to come into Uganda and successfully manage to stay without being questioned.
His comments come barely a week after the deportation of Jackie Wolfson, the executive Director of Shule Foundation, not for profit organisation that was working with street children around Kampala. In the aftermath of her deportation, Opondo stated that Jackie Wolfson had been removed from Uganda for violation of immigration laws.
Opondo stated that Wolfson was holding a tourist visa, but passing as a charity giver under Shule Foundation, yet there was no record at the immigration department that she had ever applied for a work permit since 2014 when she started visiting Uganda.
A day later Opondo tweeted; ‘Imagine, @WhiteheadComm had applied for a work permit as a Communication Specialist as if Uganda lacks them.” This was in relation to the status of Anne Whitehead, the director of Whitehead Communications, a Kampala based public relations firm.
Ofwono says the solution to corruption and laxity is a long term strategy and deliberate fight to stop such things.
On many occasions, there have been cases of massive bribery and extortion by foreigners and locals at Entebbe International Airport with the Civil Aviation’s warning foreigners not to give out any money to people at the airport.