Interpol-Uganda unveils online applications to reduce extortion, crowding

Interpol-Uganda unveils online applications to reduce extortion, crowding
Interpol-Uganda Acting Director Charles Birungi

Kampala, Uganda | URN | The Uganda National Central Bureau commonly referred to as Interpol-Uganda has launched an online application system for the Certificate of Good Conduct purposely to reduce crowding and extortion at its Kololo headquarters.

The Certificate of Good Conduct also known as the Criminal Clearance Letter is issued to a person to show that they are of good character with no criminal record traceable to their name. They are mainly sought by those applying for Visas, seeking employment abroad, going for treatment abroad or seeking residence in a foreign country. 

Charles Birungi, the Acting Director of Interpol, said there has been a lot of crowding at their offices and some people have been taking advantage of that to extort money from those seeking certificates in the guise of speeding up the process.

There have been allegations of police and civilian staff at Interpol extorting money from people seeking Interpol letters. People have reportedly been paying between 20,000 and 50,000 shillings to people who promise to get them the Interpol letters in less than two days, while those seeking express Certificates of Good Conduct have allegedly been paying over 100,000 shillings in order to get them in less than 24 hours. 

Ordinarily, processing of the certificates takes between five to seven days even though in some cases it could go up to 14-days depending on internet stability and applicants’ numbers. Birungi is optimistic that the online application system will reduce the time spent processing the certificates to range between three and five days.

“It will help to reduce overcrowding at Interpol, it will reduce the time taken on processing this letter. It will help in tracking the process of getting the certificate from the start to the end. It will reduce some malpractices of some middlemen and we expect it to bring efficiency in terms of generating revenue for the government,” Birungi said.

With an online application, one will need an email address because every step he or she completes will automatically be shared on their electronic addresses. Nevertheless, Ugandans without National Identity Cards will not be able to utilize the online system as a National Identification Number –NIN is paramount for the process to be complete. 

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Besides, the Certificate of Good Conduct, the new digital system will enable people to acquire a Police Clearance Certificate which is mostly wanted by International Organizations operating in Kampala and other parts of the country.

The computer-generated application system has introduced two more options of paying 76,000 Shillings for Certificate of Good Conduct or 23,000 Shillings for the Police Clearance Certificate. Unlike the manual system where all payments were through the bank, now applicants can pay using mobile money, visa credit cards and banks as well.

When one applies for an Interpol letter, it will be taking about three days crosschecking whether the person is a convict, wanted in Uganda or in the world. Interpol has a database for all people convicted in Uganda as well those on the Interpol red notice in Uganda and all other member states.

The online application which can be found on the police website will require a person to fill in his details and later print out his application form which he or she would present at Interpol for fingerprinting.

Birungi said they are yet to harmonize with NIRA in order to reduce time people spend to Interpol for fingerprints yet such details are already captured.