U.K. Probes Alleged Uganda â€˜Spyâ€™
U.K. Home Office: â€œAny suspicions or allegations of staff acting corruptly or improperly are fully investigated, and an investigation is underway into allegations of corruption against a member of staff... .â€?
(FDC President, Besigye, weighed in on the "spying" issue during a recent visit to London).
The U.K. Home Office informs The Black Star News that there is an on-going investigation in response to questions from this newspaper about allegations that an employee who is Ugandan, has been unfairly denying asylum applications from Ugandans whom he suspects favors the opposition party in the African country.
Separately, in an interview with this newspaper, the Ugandan who works for the Home Office, John Guma-Komwiswa, has denied that he is a spy for the Ugandan government keeping a tab on government opponents by monitoring people who apply for asylum when their files come across his desk.
Allegations have swirled around Guma from Ugandans who have had their asylum applications deniedâ€”Guma is also Secretary General of the U.K. and Ireland branches of Ugandaâ€™s ruling party, the National Resistance Movement (NRM) under President Lt. Gen. Yoweri K. Museveni. These Ugandans who had applications rejected claim Guma believes they are supporters of the opposition Forum For Democratic Change (FDC).
A Spokesperson for the Home Office says the department doesnâ€™t talk about â€œindividual cases,â€? when contacted about Guma. â€œThe Directorate expects the highest levels of integrity from its staff,â€? adds the spokesperson. â€œAny suspicions or allegations of staff acting corruptly or improperly are fully investigated, and an investigation is underway into allegations of corruption against a member of staff. The Directorate has a dedicated unit of trained officers who work in close co-operation with the police to investigate internal fraud and corruption.â€?
The Home Office wouldnâ€™t comment when asked whether it was appropriate for a Ugandan who works with the ruling partyâ€™s U.K. branch to have anything to do with asylum applications from Ugandans. â€œIâ€™m not a spy and those are malicious allegations meant to tarnish my repute,â€? says Guma. â€œPossibly, those are some of the disgruntled fellows. Itâ€™s true I work at the Home Office but I donâ€™t handle such cases.â€?
Guma says if he were a Ugandan security agent, British police would have determined this during background check before he was hired. â€œI have been working at the Home Office for over eight years even before Besigyeâ€™s FDC was formed,â€? he adds, referring to Dr. Kizza Besigye, President of the FDC. â€œSo, they are unfair to make such serious allegations against me.â€?
In bitterly contested election early this year, the FDC claimed it was robbed of victory through massive rigging and intimidation of voters by Ugandan security forces. Weighing in on the alleged spy scandal, during a recent visit to the U.K., Dr. Besigye said: â€œWe are trying to compile a list of people who are sponsored by Museveniâ€™s government to come and claim asylum yet they are working as his spies.â€?
He added: â€œItâ€™s true many of my supporters are actually genuine and have been persecuted by Kampala regimeâ€”They were denied refugee status here. Yet Museveniâ€™s spies are granted refugeesâ€™ status and some are working as Case Workers in the Home Office.â€? Besigye also noted: â€œThe UK tax payersâ€™ money pays Museveniâ€™s spies, they are sponsored on official missions and come here disguising as asylum seekers.â€?
â€œThere is no way I can influence a case, here in the UK the system is straight,â€? Guma adds in the interview with this newspaper. â€œItâ€™s not like that you can just call a certain office and say anything you want toâ€”If a Minister can loseÂ a job on the basis of influencing. What about me?â€?
â€œHonestly-speaking, those are purely false allegation made by jealous individuals,â€? Guma, reiterates. When asked about a letter bearing his signature, in which a Ugandanâ€™s application was denied, Guma declines to comment.
Miwambo writes for The Black Star from London.
Black Star News Publisherâ€™s Note: The Publisher also wants to be on record as stating that the reporter who wrote the above article, Miwambo, informs us he's received some threats. As readers can tell the Home Office informed The Black Star News that there is in fact an investigation of the matter discussed in the article. The Publisher will alert the proper authorities concerning further threats to the reporter. The Black Star Newsâ€™s publisher also wants to inform its readers that a photograph of Mr. Guma was used without crediting, or permission from Eyecon magazine, its original source, in earlier versions of this article and we apologize.
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