A total of 96 illegal immigrants were arrested and deported between July 2008 and June 2009, the permanent secretary in the internal affairs ministry, Dr. Stephen Kagoda, has told MPs on the public accounts committee.
He said of the deportees, 44 were Indians, 24 Chinese, 8 Pakistanis, 3 Bangladeshi, 8 Kenyans, 6 Chadians, 3 Somalis, 1 Turk, 1 Burundian, 1 Lebanese and 1 Guinean.
A report by the directorate of citizenship and immigration control department for the financial year 2008/09 showed that 323 suspected illegal immigrants were arrested from Kampala, Mbale, Mukono, Kayunga, Iganga, Entebbe and Bugiri districts. Of these, 129 were cleared after â€œlegalisingâ€ their immigration status.
Others were cautioned or paid fines for illegally staying in the country.
Kagoda said seven of the suspects escaped on the way to the ministry headquarters.
The MPs demanded an explanation why the ministry could arrest illegal immigrants and later legalise their stay, caution or let them escape.
â€œIn other countries, once you are arrested, you are immediately deported,â€ MP Tom Kazibwe said.
Kagoda and other ministry officials had appeared before the committee to answer queries raised by the Auditor General in a report to Parliament for 2008.
He said the immigration department lacked facilitation and manpower.
â€œThe department has only 15 officers monitoring 110 districts,â€ he said.
Kagoda said due to unemployment, 40 Koreans were blocked from entering the country.
The MPs asked the officials to submit a report on the Ugandan woman, Anne Birungi Bisaso, also known as Gillian Kiconco, who was arrested in Kenya last month over trafficking cocaine.
Kiconco was nabbed carrying 21kg of cocaine in bags bearing UN logos labelled as â€œdiplomat bagsâ€.
At the time of arrest, Kiconco had a passport which she had received by false pretence.
The MPs also demanded a list of individuals carrying diplomatic passports and the people who recommended them.
Kagoda said passports are issued to any one â€œas long as you present recognisable recommendations stating why you should be given a diplomatic passport.â€
According to the Auditor General, passports worth sh24m were damaged in 2008 due to human error.
Uganda deports 96 illegal immigrants