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SABOTUERS HAVE HIJJACKED REFUGEE REG’N-SAYS ONEK

By Our Reporters

Disaster Preparedness Minister Hillary Onek, whose docket encompasses refugee management, has rang this news website to respond to our earlier story (titled Gov’t Stuck with 20,000 Refugees as New UNHCR Reg’n system fails). Onek said he was aware of efforts by “sabotuers” within the OPM refugee department to fail the system in order to prove there no need for verification exercise in the first place. Verification was undertaken after UNDP Country representative Rosa Malango wrote a long mail raising a red flag claiming the refugee figures (standing at 1.4m people as of March 2017) had been inflated in order to steal money. Subsequently some OPM officials were interdicted suspected of foul play and being complicit in the alleged creation of ghost refugees. The verification report, released two weeks ago, exonerated the GoU officials on allegations of creating ghost refugees but Onek said that wasn’t enough to reinstate the suspended officials because there are other parallel investigations on the same allegations by police and IGG. He now says there are rogue officials in the OPM refugee department who are using their positions to sabotage the new UN refugee registration system to make sure it fails so that they prove that refugee numbers verification exercise was after all unnecessary. “We have an idea of who they are and if they are joking with me I’m going to ensure they are all fired and the jobs given to new ones willing to work wholeheartedly. They forget that there are many people who have studied IT and are ready to work when given chance,” he said. He also said much as “there are problems and some inefficiencies expected of any new system, the situation is deliberately being blown out of proportions in order to create some semblance of crisis.” He also downplayed refugee fears that failure by the OPM to promptly issue them with identification documents (either as refugees or asylum seekers) will soon lead them to being arbitrarily arrested by the Ugandan security apparatus in the upcoming Christmas festive season. “I don’t work for police and neither can I speak for them but I can tell you none of them is going to be arrested as long as the OPM is in charge of their affairs. Even when questions are asked, it’s for the good of those very refugees,” said Onek adding that “I’m increasingly becoming puzzled why there is so much propaganda aimed at discrediting Uganda’s otherwise very liberal and generous refugee policy which remains unchanged.”  For comments, call, text or whatsapp us on 0703164755.

Biometric verification exercise

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