Middle East Consultants bosses convicted of attempting to traffic 50 migrant workers

Middle East Consultants bosses convicted of attempting to traffic 50 migrant workers
The two officials being led out of court. COURTESY PHOTO/URN

Kampala, Uganda | By Michael Wandati | In a significant development, the International Crimes Division of the High Court has reached a verdict on the case involving Middle East Consultants, resulting in the conviction of two of its employees for attempting to traffic 50 migrant workers. The two individuals found guilty are Godfrey Kyalimpa, the company’s Recruitment and Vetting Officer, and Benon Kunywana, the General Manager.

The conviction came about after Justice Richard Wejuli Wabwire presided over the case, during which Kyalimpa and Kunywana opted for a plea bargain with the state, accepting the charges in exchange for a reduced sentence. The charges they faced included promoting trafficking and forgery of clearance lists.

As a consequence of their convictions, both Kyalimpa and Kunywana have been ordered to pay a fine of 5 million Shillings each, or alternatively, serve a three-year imprisonment term. The prosecution’s case highlighted that on February 12, 2019, at Entebbe International Airport in Wakiso District, the two individuals made an attempt to traffic fifty migrant workers.

Furthermore, on the same day, they were implicated in the forgery of an official document—a clearance list for migrant workers—allegedly signed by Lawrence Egulu, the Commissioner of Employment Services from the Ministry of Gender, Labour, and Social Development. However, it was discovered that Egulu’s signature had been forged without his knowledge or authorization.

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Investigations into the matter revealed that a list of 277 migrant workers had been created, and both Kyalimpa and Kunywana played a role in facilitating the forgery of Egulu’s signature during their tenure at Middle East Consultants. In contrast, the Ministry of Gender, Labour, and Social Development confirmed that only 227 workers had received legitimate clearance, not the inflated number of 277.

The successful prosecution of this case was spearheaded by Senior State Attorney Jacquelyn Okui, who holds the position of Public Relations Officer in the office of the Director of Public Prosecutions. The convictions of the two Middle East Consultants employees underscore the seriousness of human trafficking and its associated offenses in the region.