Government is in the process of verifying former state minister of Regional Affairs Isaac Musumba‘s travel documents to enable his release by the Indian authorities.
According to state minister for International Affairs Okello Oryem, the former state minister of Regional Affairs Isaac Musumba, Igara East MP Michael Mawanda and their business partner Yakubu Mathai are still detained in India pending receipt of details from Uganda’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs on whether the three are diplomats.
Oryem revealed to the parliamentary committee on foreign affairs that the Ugandans are restrained from movement to Uganda. In absence of valid travel documents, they may not be able to return to Uganda.
Appearing before the Parliamentary committee on Foreign Affairs chaired by Alex Byarugaba (Isingiro South) Okello Oryem said the three will be freed after government of Uganda supplies the foreign affairs ministry of India with certain information.
The foreign affairs team said among the details required is also information on whether the detainees hold genuine passports, the statuses of the travel documents they hold and whether they enjoy diplomatic immunity.
The Permanent Secretary in the Foreign Affairs ministry Ambassador James Mugume however said the verification of the detained persons’ documents was something that needed studying first since diplomatic passports are only given to diplomats and their spouses yet this case involves a former minister, MP and a businessman.
Mugume says that while Musumba and Mawanda could hold diplomatic passports, their business partner Mathai’s travel documents need verification by the ministry of internal affairs.
Oryem however says Mugume is to write to the Indian foreign affairs ministry as per its request so as to free the detainees, adding that since Musumba is a candidate in the Organisation of Islamic Conference (OIC), it was considered to continue holding an official passport and enjoy diplomatic immunity as well.
The media has been awash with information that Musumba was questioned by Indian police over claims that they attempted to extort $20m (Shs50 billion) from directors of Videocon India, an electronics company but Musumba has since dismissed that account, insisting they were victims of underhand methods of a businessman who had tried to defraud their client Mathai.