The National Identification Registration Authority (NIRA) has kicked off investigations into the alleged rampant extortion of unsuspecting members of the public who want national identity cards.
This followed media reports that many people were being duped by some individuals acting as brokers, at various NIRA offices, promising to expeditiously help them get their national IDs.
The NIRA spokesperson, Gilbert Kadilo, said they had taken on the matter working with the Police and Internal Security Organisation operatives to arrest those involved.
Kadilo said so far among those who have been arrested over extortion, are former NIRA staff who were part of the registration exercise in 2015.
“These cases are common in the five divisions of Kampala including Nakawa, Rubaga, Kawembe, Makindye and Central Division NIRA offices. We have arrested about six suspects from Makindye division offices. Most of these were former employees who were involved in the registration exercise,” he said.
He said cases of extortion are handled as they are reported.
NIRA operates 117 offices countrywide including the head office in Kololo and offices in the five divisions of Kampala.
Kadilo noted that all first registrations for national IDs are free.
“No charge is levied if someone is registering for the first time. One just needs an LC1 recommendation letter which must be countersigned by the District or Division Internal Security Officers (DISO). All these signatures are for free,” he noted.
He stressed that only subsequent registration including; replacements for lost, damaged, and defaced IDs are charged sh50,000, paid through the bank.
He stressed that correction of errors, application for birth and death certificates is charged a small fee.
“NIRA does not receive any money. So we urge the public not to pay individuals because they will be cheated. Just follow the process and be patient,” he added.
Forgery of LC1 stamps
He said the authority has also realized a forgery in letters and stamps from LC1 chairpersons and DISOs mainly in Kampala Metropolitan area (Kampala-five divisions, Wakiso and Mukono).
He said they are engaging the Ministry of Local Government and Internal Security Organisation (ISO) to find a solution to the problem.
Early this year, the government started issuing official stamps with security marks LC1 to reduce forgery countrywide.
Kadilo said NIRA has built trust over time a reason why the national ID is an acceptable travel document in the region.
He noted that NIRA systems are secure and protected physically and through their cyber protection units.
“But it becomes complicated for us because we work with other state actors like LCs and DISOs of which we have no control. That is why we are engaging the LG and ISO to ensure the problem is dealt with,” he explained.