Corruption Plagues Immigration Office
By Thula Chisamba
Investigations carried out by The Malawi Star team in Mzuzu reveal that some Malawian citizens are being denied the printing of their passports at the Mzuzu immigration offices.
It has been found that people still continue to bribe some officers for their passports to be processed.
Alexandre Kaunda, a Malawian who claimed to have been denied the printing of his passport told our reporter that a certain officer promised to help him if he only bribed him with MK30,000.
“Because I didn’t have the money, he challenged me that my passport will never be printed without paying him,” said Kaunda.
Another victim, Chimwemwe Nyirenda confessed that her passport has not been printed for close to six months now because she doesn’t have the money for the bribe.
Inside sources have revealed that some officers have the tendency of soliciting bribes, especially in Mzuzu.
He said that this is the very same reason they easily print Malawian passports for foreigners.
“Corruption is really rampant here because people want to get rich quickly by soliciting bribes from anyone coming here for a service that they have already paid for,” he said.
However in reacting to the accusations, Northern region immigration publicist Blackwel Lungu trashed the allegations branding them as “Untrue.”
He said that since the National Immigration Department decentralized the printing of passports in the country, corruption has been eased.
“Just that sometimes we decline to help others due to lack of resources that the government supplies to us here in Mzuzu. Like at the present, we don’t have enough books thus we help only few people who require urgent travelling documents,” said Lungu.
Meanwhile the department has rolled out a number of campaigns aimed at sensitizing people on how to hold immigration officials accountable.
The campaigns which will be conducted in districts with high numbers of regular inter country travellers like Mzimba. These are expected to melt down corruption practices sweeping across the department.
Still, the Immigration Department remains among the most corrupt in the country.