Ugandan soldier arrested over extorting money from foreigners

Suspected killer of UPDF Major arrested

Kampala, Uganda | URN | A five-year hunt for a Uganda People’s Defence Forces (UPDF) Captain Charles Asiimwe, accused of fleecing more than Shs 100 million from foreign nationals has finally come to an end following his arrest over the weekend.

Asiimwe, who was put on the wanted list in 2018 was apprehended on Friday when he had gone to renew a work permit of a Pakistan national at the Directorate of Citizenship and Immigration Control (DCIC) inside the Ministry of Internal Affairs.

Asiimwe who often wore the uniform of a UPDF Major and of an immigration officer was captured several times on Closed Circuit Television cameras duping foreigners running supermarkets, and pharmacies in the areas of Mukono, Kampala Central Business District, and Wandegeya.

Simon Peter Mundeyi, the spokesperson for the Ministry of Internal Affairs, said several complaints have been registered from foreigners who he would defraud of Shs 3-5 million.

Mundeyi said in one operation, Asiimwe collected Shs 13 million in Mukono, Wandegeya, and Luwum street. “He went to a supermarket in Mukono wearing our immigration uniform and collected Shs 4 million. From here, he went to a pharmacy in Wandegeya and collected Shs 5 million. On the same day, he went to Luwum street pharmacy and also collected Shs 4 million. In one day he went with Shs 13 million,” Mundeyi said.

Mundeyi said Asiimwe will be handed over to the Chieftaincy of Military Intelligence since he is a serving military officer and afterward he will be court-martialed. When DCIC officers searched Asiimwe’s vehicle, he was found with identifying cards of two immigration officers Alex Ahimbisibwe in the legal department and Henry Mubikire deployed at Malaba border point. 

Soldiers patrolling streets in Kampala

“He also had an ID of UNBS (Uganda National Bureau of Standards). He has been using these forged IDs for over five years and he would threaten to close businesses of foreigners,” Mundeyi said.

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DCIC has urged foreigners and the public at large to be careful with people who always masquerade as immigration officers. In case of doubt, Mundeyi has urged people to always alert nearby police stations.

However, DCIC has noticed that most of the fleeced foreigners are those whose work permits expired and are now illegally operating in the country. 

“I don’t think a person who is legally living here would be scared seeing a person in the immigration uniform. But these people are illegally living here and they are always scared whenever they see a person wearing an immigration uniform. These are people being targeted by masqueraders,” Mundeyi said.