What you need to know:
- At the Nakawa Division NIRA office located in Kalinabiri, this reporter met one Isaac Okia, a broker who said their services help ease the process of securing a national ID for those who find it both bureaucratic and problematic.
The services of the National Identification Registration Authority (NIRA) have been hijacked by brokers who are now making millions off shillings from unsuspecting Ugandans.
Although the process of registering for a national ID is supposed to be simple and straight forward, several Ugandans try to avoid the processes and opt for the services of brokers who offer to get all the papers signed and filed by NIRA staff and set an appointment for recording biodata. Each applicant who seeks the service of a broker pays not less than Shs50, 000.
Under normal procedure, Ugandans seeking national IDs are supposed to pick forms from any NIRA office countrywide. These forms are filled by the applicant before they are taken to the village chairman and the District Internal Security Officers (DISO) for approval, a process which would ideally take one to two days.
At the Nakawa Division NIRA office located in Kalinabiri, this reporter met one Isaac Okia, a broker who said their services help ease the process of securing a national ID for those who find it both bureaucratic and problematic. Mr Okia said the charges helps him secure all the necessary stamps from the local councils and district security officers.
He says he helps up to 15 people on a daily basis, and can collect up to Shs750,000 on a good day. But, he adds, the money is also shared with the local council leaders from whom the stamps are sought.
"All that money does not end up in my pocket. We have LCs and DISOs that we work with. They know us and what we do. We give each of them Shs10, 000 for each stamp," Mr Okia explains, emphasizing that this is not happening only in Nakawa but wherever NIRA offices are found.
A broker at the Wandegeya NIRA branch who preferred not to be named said at times, they also give a commission to NIRA officers they work with.
"We give this money to everyone. Even the NIRA officers because they are the ones who recommend some of the people we help," the source said.
However, for some applicants, the high amounts of money being charged by brokers have become a hindrance.
Ms Rose Nyangoma, an applicant for the national ID said the hefty amounts of money she was required to pay stopped her from registering.
"I asked where I could pick forms and the guard gave me one form and directed me to get photocopies from a man who was outside the gate. The man told me to pay Shs50,000 before he could help me to get the ID, " Ms Nyangoma narrates.
She adds that because she did have the money, she has still failed to secure a national ID two months down the road.
NIRA spokesperson, Mr Gilbert Kadilo told this reporter that the services of such middlemen are illegal. However, he added that nothing can be done about them unless applicants raise formal complaints with the Authority.
Mr Kadilo says applicants who are asked to pay for services should either go to the police or write a formal complaint to the Executive Director, Brig Stephen Kwiringira who will initiate investigations.
“If anybody has any complaints to make against our staff regarding corruption, they either bring it to the attention of management or they report to police. Our position as an institution on issues like that is very clear. Every member of staff knows what's expected of them and what's not expected. But also it takes two to tangle. Some of those people are the same people who go about inducing our staff to receive money but that notwithstanding, our stand with our staff is that nobody should be involved in extorting money from the public,” he said.