British immigration “infiltrated by Ugandan agent”
In reading various reports about the situation of people being refused asylum despite having been raped, tortured or having other strong claims, the name Uganda seems (with hindsight) to have turned up again and again. Well, it seems that there is an answer as to why this is: because an agent of the Ugandan ruling party was working in the immigration service:
Investigators and police will want to determine whether he affected the outcome of asylum matters relating to fellow Ugandans while working at the Immigration Enforcement Office at Becket House, central London, and, if so, how he escaped internal vetting procedures designed to prevent corruption.
In a letter to the Home Office, a lawyer dealing with Ugandan asylum cases raises concerns “from a number of Ugandan asylum seekers who have had their cases frustrated and rejected” because of what they believe is Mr Guma-Komwiswa’s “malice and or bad influence”.
And for specific examples:
Alex Oringa, an immigration lawyer with ties to Ugandan opposition groups, said he took his seat at the meeting, looked up, and saw someone he recognised from his asylum work. He raised a point of information. “I asked him to confirm whether he was the very Mr Guma who works in the Home Office,” he recalled. “I said, ‘How do you exercise impartiality deciding on their matters when you are identified so clearly with the regime?”
In the months that followed, Mr Oringa filed two separate complaints to the immigration service’s complaints unit. He said that one Ugandan client’s immigration matters should not have been administered by a leading representative of the ruling party from the regime she was claiming to flee. Another client, he alleged, had been dissuaded from applying for asylum by Mr Guma-Komwiswa. It would take several months for an investigation to begin.
One complainant, Sarah Male, a 47-year-old member of the high-profile royal family of the Ugandan kingdom of Buganda, told the Guardian: “I met him in a Weatherspoons pub in Forest Gate. He told me, ‘You know Sarah, what you need to do is go back to Museveni, you can’t claim asylum here.’ He was quarrelling with me, telling me that Museveni has to teach me. He told me there is no way I would get asylum here.”
Another, Susan Mporampora, 21, said she was surprised to discover that a man she had met in a social context in Forest Gate, and had asked her questions about her asylum claim, turned out to be the Home Office official corresponding with her lawyers over immigration matters.
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