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Middle East Consultants Executives Convicted of Human Trafficking and Forgery

The International Crimes Division of the High Court has found two senior executives of the labor export company Middle East Consultants guilty of promoting human trafficking and forgery.

Benon Kunywana, aged 36, and Godfrey Kyalimpa, aged 48, who held the positions of general manager and vetting officer at the company, were arrested in 2019 for their involvement in various human trafficking cases.

During the trial, presided over by Senior State Attorney Okui Jacqueline from the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions, the duo admitted to attempting to traffic approximately 50 migrant workers in 2019. They were also found guilty of using forged documents, claiming they were from the Ministry of Gender, Labour, and Social Development, in an attempt to traffic Ugandans out of the country.

As part of a plea bargain, the two were convicted and sentenced by Justice Wejuli Richard to pay a fine of Shs2 million for each count of promoting trafficking in persons. In default, they will serve two years and 10 days imprisonment. Additionally, they were convicted and fined Shs3 million for forgery, with a default sentence of three years and 10 days imprisonment. Both sentences will run concurrently.

According to the charge sheet, on February 12, 2019, Kyalimpa and Kunywana attempted to traffic 50 migrant workers through Entebbe International Airport, using a forged document allegedly signed by Lawrence Egulu from the Ministry of Labour to facilitate the trafficking. Their illegal activities were discovered when it was revealed that they had scanned Egulu’s signature onto the document without his consent, leading to their apprehension by the State House Anti-Corruption Unit.

In a related matter, the Anti-Corruption Unit had previously recovered over Shs1.5 billion paid by hundreds of hopeful job seekers to the company, promising them employment opportunities abroad that never materialized.

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