“This is to notify you that beginning Wednesday, 13th, 2021, all categories of migrant workers will not be required to present Interpol Certificate as a pre-condition for travel except those travelling for security-related jobs,” reads Amongi’s October 8th, 2021 letter in part. Previously, all people travelling abroad for work would apply for the Certificate of Good Conduct from Uganda National Central Bureau commonly known as Interpol –Uganda.
The certificate serves to confirm whether or not the person has a criminal record and whether or not he is on the list of wanted criminals in any Interpol member states. According to records, the Interpol directorate has to collect at least Shillings 3 billion annually from issuing Certificates of Good Conduct. For instance, Interpol collected Shillings 3.9billion in 2020 from issuing the Certificate of Good Conduct and Shillings 2.9billion in 2019, the lowest in the last three years. Each applicant pays Shillings 76,000 to access the certificate.
Interpol Director Senior Commissioner of Police, Charles Birungi, says that prior to the COVID-19 pandemic outbreak, they were issuing over 500 Certificates on a daily basis, which means they would collect more than 38 million Shillings.
More than 97 per cent of the certificates issued, according to Interpol are for external labourers. Ronnie Mukundane, the Spokesperson of Uganda Association for External Recruitment Agencies- UAERA, says that they are extremely happy with the cabinet decision to suspend the issuance of the Certificate of Good Conduct.
Mukundane argues that the Certificate of Good Conduct has been an impediment to the recruitment process in general because it has been taking over two months from the date of payment to the time of acquisition.
“The removal of this Interpol certificate has reduced the lengthy process even at the Airport, many of the licensed recruitment companies have lost business because of this delay. We are extremely happy that this removal will make the formal externalisation process faster,” Mukundane said.
On the question of whether Interpol would not be isolated since the Certificate of Good Conduct is what has been keeping the area busy, Birungi and his deputy Joseph Obwana, explain that the institution has very many duties it plays day in day out.
Some of these roles include coordinating with other Interpol member states on transnational crime investigations, provision and facilitating the exchange of evidence in respect of investigations of transnational crimes, provision of technical advice on areas of transnational Police cooperation between Uganda and Bilateral, Regional and International organizations.
Other roles of Interpol include liaising with other Law Enforcement Agencies in combating transnational and cross border crimes, overseeing joint and regional cross border operations in combating crime, and coordinating all matters related to the Extradition of fugitives in liaison with the relevant authorities.
Data of 2020 shows that Interpol issued clearance for 450 motor vehicles and motorcycles thus collecting Shillings 27 million. Obama expounds that they conduct operations targeting terrorism, stolen vehicles thus Interpol cannot be idle.
UAERA elaborates that even the Certificate of Good Conduct has been a source of Non-Tax Revenue to the government, the new regulations provide other avenues of collecting the same money like payment for every job vacancy is USD 30 by the licensed recruitment companies.