The Ministry of Internal Affairs has expressed concern over Ugandans who apply for passports and don’t pick them up from collection centers.
According to Simon Peter Mundeyi, the ministry spokesperson, they are having a stockpile of passports at their collection centers in Kyambogo, Gulu, Mbale and Mbarara of about 20,000 booklets.
“We are running short of storage space for these booklets and we keep processing 3,000 passports every day so if applicants don’t pick these ready booklets, it will give us a challenge in storage space,” he said while addressing journalists at police headquarters in Naguru, on Monday.
Mundeyi appealed to all Ugandans who applied for these passports but are not picking them up to date and those who haven’t received the messages are guided to contact them on 0417102600.
“We have noted that some applicants don’t receive the SMS informing them to collect their passports because most likely of two reasons; some applicants put incorrect telephone numbers on their applications and the commonest problem has been replacing ‘0’ with ‘O’ so the system is not able to send them messages because it will treat O as a letter, not a figure,” said Mundeyi.
He added, “Some people use brokers and these brokers intentionally put wrong phone numbers on the applications hoping to fleece money from the applicants because they know that when they put wrong numbers applicants won’t receive messages and in so doing applicants will be desperate and will definitely look for them.”
The Internal Affairs Ministry publicity urged applicants for passports to be careful in as far as filling the application forms is concerned and also to desist from involving third parties since the application system is simple and user-friendly.
“All you have to do is apply for your passport. www.passport.go.ug and you have to ensure that you have a National ID, once you have a National ID you are not required to go to LCs so we don’t expect you to be fleeced by anyone asking for money to endorse on your forms,” said Mundeyi.
“Some people keep calling us asking why their passports have been delayed yet they have never submitted applications nor appeared anywhere at our offices. They use brokers who after fleecing their money switch off their phones.”
Mundeyi revealed that 15 individuals have been arrested and are detained at Jinja road police station after they were reported to have fleeced money from unsuspecting Ugandans who were trying to apply for passports.
He urged the public to continue reporting such people as their enforcement team alongside security agencies keep on the lookout for them.
An ordinary passport according to Mundeyi can be acquired within 14 working days while an express version takes 48 hours at Shs 250,000 and Shs 450,000 respectively.
“We don’t charge any extra money at all, you can either pay in the bank or any other payment methods provided but don’t pay money to any individuals in cash hoping that they would deliver the money to our offices,” Mundeyi noted.