Friday, February 09, 2018

Ugandans suspended over 'refugee scam'


Four Ugandan government officials have been suspended amid allegations of inflating refugee figures. Uganda's Commissioner for Refugees Apollo Kazungu and three of his senior staff are being investigated. Investigations will also consider whether officials from UN aid agencies were involved. Uganda is said to host some 1.4 million refugees - welcoming more than any other country in 2016 - mostly from South Sudan and DR Congo.

But these allegations will cast doubts on those figures. Until recently, Uganda had been widely praised for its immigration policies and described as one of the best places in the world to be a refugee. The Ugandan Daily Monitor, which first reported the allegations, says the issue was first raised by UN country representative Rosa Malango.

The newspaper says she raised three issues, including "doubtful" numbers of refugees, the trafficking of women and children, and fraud. One spot check in the capital Kampala found just 7,000 people when there were reported to be 26,000 needing aid, the Daily Monitor reports, leading to questions about where the money and resources for the missing 19,000 were going.

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