BOTSWANA: Corrupt immigration officers get the sack

bostwana.jpgThe Ministry of Labour and Home Affairs has said it has sacked 18 immigration officers for selling Botswana passports to foreign nationals.

The employees were dismissed after thorough investigations. The
ministry’s permanent secretary, Segakweng Tsiane has said that some
foreign nationals were arrested when they were found in possession of
the stolen Botswana documents.

"When they were interrogated, the
foreigners revealed that they bought the documents from certain people
in the ministry. We are still investigating these cases and I can
assure you we will leave no stone unturned," she said. She added that
they are following due process to address the issue.

The ministry spokesperson, Lebogang Bok said that some of the officers
were bribed to issue passports, residence permits and to aid illegal
immigrants to enter or work in the country. Some were dismissed for
failure to comply with financial instructions and procedures or
accepting bribes to issue passports or extend period of stay.

Bok said that although this is the highest number of officers involved
in corruption at the ministry, it is not the first time that the
immigration department has been hit by graft.

She said that in 2008, there were two cases of fraudulent issuance of
passports and one for unlawful extension of days. "However it has to be
noted that all the officers have since been dismissed from work," she

A few weeks ago, Tsiane revealed that a sizeable number of officers in the ministry are corrupt.

There have been reports that criminals around the world are using
illegally acquired Botswana passports. To deal with the situation, the
ministry devised stringent conditions to guard against the theft of the
document. The fee for the replacement of a lost passport has been hiked
from P30 to P1,000. This has left some Batswana feeling that they are
being made to pay for the security lapses of the ministry. "We want
people to take responsibility and take proper care of their passports.
It doesn’t mean that you would just be made to pay the P1,000 fee when
you want to replace your passport. If you have good reasons for losing
your passport, say your passport was burnt in a fire, and there is
supporting evidence, you will not be charged the P1,000 fee," Tsiane

Mmegi Online

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