With allegations of corruption at the passports office now a public secret, the Registrar-General’s Office is said to be shielding a corrupt employee through refusing to cooperate with investigators working on the case.
The matter involves a passport processing officer, Prisca Moyo, who is facing charges of soliciting for a US$20 bribe for the quick release of a passport. She was arrested along with Nicholas Chogugudza.
It is further suspected that corruption at the passports office is carried out by a syndicate of officials, who prey of desperate travelling documents seekers.
Meanwhile, Chogugudza reportedly hangs around Makombe Building as a link between the public and workers at the passport office and allegedly facilitates the underhand dealings.
This emerged during the bail appeal hearing of Moyo at the High Court recently that the RG’s Office must cooperate, and the prosecution opposed bail on the grounds of the risk of interference by the RG’s office in a bid to protect Moyo.
Apparently, corruption at the office is believed to have been going on for years.
Recently, Minister of Home Affairs and Cultural Heritage, Kazembe Kazembe, visited the passports office under cover in order to understand and get first hand information on what is transpiring on the ground. The Minister witnessed the underhand dealings that take place at the office.
His visit followed reports of rampant corruption, under hand dealings at the passports office.
“Today I visited the passport offices and some guy sold me a place in the queue and I paid $30 but he is now in the police holding cells,” he said recently.
He said these words while giving oral evidence in Parliament on policy decisions in dealing with the backlog in the provision of primary identity documents necessitated by lockdowns due to COVID19 will be given.
He said owing to a lack of forex for consumables and document validation equipment, only 2 000 passports can be processed per day, adding that steps are being taken to correct the situation.
Meanwhile, the Home Affairs minister has disclosed that the Registrar-General’s Office has introduced night shifts for passport printing in a bid to clear a backlog of 225 747.
Kazembe appealed to citizens to be patient as the government works on the passport production side.
-Zwnews/ The Herald