Government official charged with fraudulent issuance of US visas

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A foreign service officer at the Department of Foreign Affairs has been charged with abuse of power in connection with the fraudulent issuance of visas to Ugandans to travel to the United States.

Mr Innocent Opio, 41, was arraigned at the anti-corruption court in Kololo, Kampala, on Tuesday for allegedly issuing visas to 11 candidates he represented as police officers attending a training course in Washington DC in the USA.

However, Opio denied the charges before Senior Magistrate Abert Asiimwe.

He then secured a cash bond of Shs 2 million after posting five sureties.

The prosecution led by Mrs. Harriet Angom alleges that during July this year, at the offices of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Kampala, Mr. Opio improperly issued a diplomatic note, recommending non-governmental officials to the American embassy for the acquisition of American visas.

The act is alleged to have discredited the Ugandan government’s image and compromised the security of the national and international communities.

Court documents indicate that the two diplomatic notes dated June 21, 2022 and July 4, 2022 were issued by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, using fraudulent or forged police certificates allegedly signed by an unknown person on behalf of the director of ‘Interpol and international relations. and were established to be a fake.

It is further alleged that the diplomatic note issued on June 21, 2022 was signed by An Opio Innocent, First Secretary at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, but he did not give clear reasons for issuing the diplomatic note.

A police statement shows another diplomatic note dated July 4, 2022, was signed by one Emmanuel Wandera, a foreign service officer, at the Foreign Office, but claimed they signed the document after have corrected an error on the original document, supposedly signed. by his superior.

Of the eleven candidates, ten were established as civilians, while one policeman used false information, claiming he was a detective attached to CID headquarters, while he was a police driver.

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