Immigration officer remanded for soliciting Shs 350,000 bribe for passport processing

Immigration officer remanded for soliciting Shs 350,000 bribe for passport processing
Jesca Kalenge, an immigration officer has been remanded to Kigo prison until 8th April, 2021. It is alleged that she has been soliciting money from citizens (mostly from Eastern Uganda) while promising to quicken their passport application process.

Kampala, Uganda | URN | Jesca Kalenge, an immigration officer with the Internal Affairs Ministry in Kampala is on remand on charges of demanding money by menace allegedly for passport processing. Kalenge appeared on Tuesday 30, March 2021 afternoon before Nakawa Grade One Magistrate, Ponsiano Odwori who read for her the charges.

The prosecution told the court that on March 12, 2021, while at the Internal Affairs Ministry headquarters in Kampala, Kalenge with intent to steal, demanded Shillings 350,000 from Yonah Mugoya with menaces of force. Kalenge allegedly demanded the money when Mugoya called her on phone to find out how far they had gone with the process of issuing him a passport.

However, Kalenge reportedly told Mugoya not to disturb her, if he does not have Shillings 350,000 to expedite the passport processing — yet he had already paid for the passport. Kalenge pleaded not guilty to the charges and applied for bail through her lawyer Gordon Kifudde.

Kifudde told the court that the accused has two infant children who need care. He also argued that his client is expectant. Kifudde also presented the suspect’s husband Mark Bwire, who is also an employee with Internal Affairs Ministry and her uncle, Fahad Isabirye, a teacher at Gombe Secondary School to stand surety.

However, the prosecution led by the State Attorney Barbara Kyomugisha objected to the bail application on grounds that the suspect is likely to interfere with the ongoing investigations once released on bail.

She also told the court that the sureties are outside the jurisdiction of Nakawa magistrate’s court. Kyomugisha however asked the court to set stringent terms for the accused if it deems it fit to grant her bail.

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Odwori remanded Kalinge to Kigo prisons until April 8, 2021, when he will deliver his ruling. A team of detectives from the State House Anti-Corruption Unit picked up the accused last week based on a phone call recording by her victim. She was released on bond and asked to report to the court on Tuesday when she was re-arrested and taken to court immediately.

According to detectives, they have since received several complaints from other people in Eastern Uganda implicating the accused for demanding money to expedite the processing of their passports. Normally, it takes two weeks to process an ordinary passport.