The Government of Uganda is to loose out about Shs 3bn per year following the  suspension of International Interpol certificates that are sold out to African immigrant labourers:


Written by URN


Interpol Uganda director Charles Birungi


The government of Uganda is set to lose more than Shs 3 billion per year following the ban on the issuance of a certificate of good conduct to people travelling abroad for jobs.

Recently, the Gender, Labour and Social Development minister, Betty Amongi Ongom wrote to her Internal Affairs counterpart, Gen Kahinda Otafiire, indicating that the cabinet has resolved to suspend the issuance of a certificate of good conduct.

“This is to notify you that beginning Wednesday, October 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 8 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 collects Shs 3 billion annually from issuing the certificates. For instance, Interpol collected Shs 3.9 billion in 2020 from issuing the certificates and Shs 2.9 billion in 2019, the lowest in the last three years.  Each applicant pays Shs 76,000 to access the certificate.


Interpol director SCP Charles Birungi, says that prior to the COVID-19 pandemic outbreak, they were issuing over 500 certificates on a daily basis, which translates to Shs 38 million per day.


More than 97 per cent of the certificates issued, according to Interpol are for external labourers. Ronnie Mukundane, the spokesperson of the 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 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 clearances for 450 motor vehicles and motorcycles thus collecting Shs 27 million. Obwana expounds that they conduct operations targeting terrorism, stolen vehicles and hence Interpol cannot be idle.


UAERA elaborates that even the certificate of good conduct has been a good source of non-tax revenue for the government, the new regulations provide other avenues of collecting the same money like payment for every job vacancy $30 by the licensed recruitment companies.


One would wonder how much Interpol certification revenue per person was lost for those African countries that were directly involved in international slave trade? This was the European-American slave trade that involved the transportation by slave traders of various enslaved African people, mainly to the Americas. The slave trade regularly used the triangular trade route and its Middle Passage, and existed for 300 years from the 16th to the 19th centuries. Unfortunately for those now very developed countries, such dodgy but lucrative revenue could have ended on 18 December,1865 when slavery legally ended. Such an article as this one underpins how these poor African countries now continue to benefit much more from a lucrative modern slavery. Of what benefit are these international good conduct certificates to the thousands of stranded young immigrants in Libya and elsewhere looking for any available low paid employment?