Fake official demoted

Shadreck Mudzviti, the government official credited with the collapse of the state's once-vital emergency passport system, has been demoted.

Tobaiwa Mudede
Tobaiwa Mudede

Senior officials at the provincial registry here told The Zimbabwean that Mudzviti had lost his job as the provincial registrar for Midlands over the passport scam.

“Mudzviti has been transferred to the Shurugwi district office while the matter is being investigated further,” confirmed an officer. It could not be established if the police were still pursuing criminal charges against him.

Mudzviti was arrested in 2009 after he allegedly connived with colleagues in his office to issue thousands of false emergency travel documents (ETD) printed on government paper. The elaborate scheme involved Zanu (PF) officials in the province who would organise 'customers' for Mudzviti and his gang. The desperate passport applicants, especially those employed in neighbouring countries, were forced to part with up to US$250 for an ETD.

The scheme collapsed after South African border officials detected false passport numbers coming from the Gweru office. Disguised as 'co-operatives' intending to travel outside Zimbabwe on business, some of the racketeers obtained letters of support from ex-governor Cephas Msipa. They then went to the Gweru office, where a spare receipt book was kept for the underhand transactions.

Corruption is rampant in the Registrar-General's office, where Tobaiwa Mudede, a close ally of President Robert Mugabe, is clinging to power, amid calls from the MDC-T for him to resign. The MDC-T accuses Mudede of failing to manage government revenues and of assisting Mugabe's phenomenal vote-rigging.

Last year, MDC-T Co-Home Affairs Minister Theresa Makone made a surprise visit to Mudede's offices in Harare demanding an impromptu inspection of books after complaints that money collected from the public for official papers was not deposited in the bank but was diverted to Zanu (PF). Journalists heard Mudede directing officials over the phone to lock up the offices and 'disappear' before the minister got to them.

Post published in: Zimbabwe News

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