Corruption has become so rampant at the passport offices where desperate applicants are paying as much as US$200 to apply for the travel documents through middlemen, state media has revealed.

Over the past year, the Registrar General’s (RGs) office has scaled down the issuance of passports owing to shortages of consumables, with daily levels now around 250 against a national demand of 3 000.

An investigation conducted by State Media at the RG’s office in Harare showed that people are sleeping in queues in order to apply for the travel documents.

However, only 12 people, on average, are being assisted daily in Harare.

Information gathered also shows that some people who applied for the travel documents last November are yet to get them.

In an interview, Home Affairs and Cultural Heritage Minister Cain Mathema said the country is facing challenges in securing raw material to process the travel documents.

He, however, urged the citizens not to panic as modalities are being put in place by Government to rectify the situation. The assurance comes as US$600 000 has since been availed by Treasury towards the purchase of passport printers.

“The public should not panic (over the passport issue),” said Minister Mathema.

-state Media