Uganda Alleged ‘Spy’ Story Expands

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The investigation of Guma-Komwiswa was first reported in The Black Star News’s second article on the scandal, under the headline “U.K. Probes Alleged Uganda ‘Spy’� which was published October 18.

A Ugandan working for the British Home Office has been suspended from his job as British authorities investigate allegations of corruption in decisions about granting asylum, following two news stories in The Black Star News, in October.

British media today reported that that since John Guma-Komwiswa joined the Home Office “more than 2,800 Ugandans have had their initial asylum claims turned down.” Guma-Komwiswa has denied the allegations of corruption.

On October 6, The Black Star News reported that a number of Ugandans who had their asylum applications denied alleged that Guma-Komwiswa, who is a member of Uganda’s NRM party and is Secretary General of the U.K. and Ireland branches, was rejecting applications from people whom he suspected were supporters of the opposition Forum For Democratic Change (FDC), headed by Dr. Kizza Besigye.

The FDC contends that it was robbed of victory in the last Presidential election through massive rigging.

Another British media outlet, The Guardian, today reported on the investigations by British authorities of Guma-Komwiswa. The Guardian reported: “What his employers may not have known was that during his spare time, Mr. Guma-Komwiswa had a very different identity - a political post, in fact. As secretary-general for the UK and Ireland chapter of the National Resistance Movement (NRM), headed by Ugandan president Yoweri Museveni, he was the figurehead in Britain for a grouping that helped the guerrilla general seize power in 1986 and rule the country. Now his professional and private life have been put on hold while a specialist team of Home Office investigators collaborate with police to probe allegations of corruption.”

The investigation of Guma-Komwiswa's activities was first reported in The Black Star News’s second article on the scandal, under the headline “U.K. Probes Alleged Uganda ‘Spy’” which was published October 18. At that time a Home Office spokesperson told this newspaper, “Any 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.”

In The Black Star's October 18 report, Guma-Komwiswa denied the allegations. “There is no way I can influence a case, here in the UK the system is straight,” Guma told The Black Star News. “It’s not like that you can just call a certain office and say anything you want to—If a Minister can lose a job on the basis of influencing. What about me?”

“Honestly-speaking, those are purely false allegation made by jealous individuals,” Guma, had added.

The Guardian today wrote that the “implications of the probe have spread to Uganda,” as opposition leader Besigye, charged that Museveni’s spies had penetrated the Home Office, and referring to The Black Star News’s earlier exclusive report, the U.K. paper wrote, “‘The UK taxpayer's money pays Museveni's spies, they are sponsored on official missions,’ he told a pan-African website based in New York, The Black Star News.” The Guardian was referring to Dr. Besigye’s statement during a London visit.

In the remarks published in the earlier Black Star article referenced by The Guardian, Besigye had also said: “It’s true many of my supporters are actually genuine and have been persecuted by Kampala regime---They were denied refugee status here. Yet Museveni’s spies are granted refugees’ status and some are working as Case Workers in the Home Office.”

Dr. Besigye had also said: “We are trying to compile a list of people who are sponsored by Museveni’s government to come and claim asylum yet they are working as his spies.”

The Guardian’s report today also said: “Investigators are likely to want to establish how a Ugandan political figure secured a role within the Immigration and Nationality Directorate and, crucially, whether any asylum claims were improperly influenced.”

Separately, the British government has instituted immediate changes in its Immigration monitoring system as a result of the expose in this newspaper. U.K. Immigration Minister Liam Byrne has announced that, “an independent inspectorate for immigration is to be set up in an attempt to restore public confidence in the beleaguered immigration and asylum system.”
“The new immigration inspectorate would be responsible for monitoring the overall effectiveness of the Home Office's immigration and IND. The quality of IND decisions, the use of its enforcement powers and its treatment of individuals,” said Byrne.
IND refers to the Immigration and National Directorate department.

The initial report on this growing scandal was published in The Black Star October 6, under the headline “Uganda Spies On HRM’s Payroll?”

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