By: Thula Chisamba
Some Malawian immigration officers at Songwe border crossing in Karonga have been accused of soliciting bribes from immigrants and transporters whom they allegedly aid into the country illegally.
There are also allegations that some officers have a hand in helping transporters to transport and smuggle commodities illegally in and out of the country.
A source who confirmed the development to The Malawi Star team, alleged that officers at the boarder are corrupt and that they are more into money than serving Malawians.
He said, with only MK500,000 a transporter can manage to pass through the border without any problem.
“I have been observing them for close to one year and I know what I am talking about. These officers are really bad for Malawians because of their love of money,” he said on condition of anonymity.
Another truck driver echoed the same allegations citing the officers have developed friendship with most transporters such that they do not even conduct a search in any of their vehicles.
He also said that the easiest boarder to go through with illegal materials is Songwe because officers are more into money than their job.
“If they know you, it’s easy to go through even with illegal drugs. I remember my friend was transporting drugs from Malawi to Tanzania without any problems,” said another transporter.
Though this publication cannot independently confirm such accusations but there are rampant cases of reports on the same allegations testifying that there is some relative truth on the matter.
The Malawi Star understands that most of the illegal immigrants that the department managed to trap, were those that had already passed through the border raising questions as to how they managed to cross safely into the country without being apprehended at our borders by our officials.
Locals in the district thus suggested that government must consider transferring these officers frequently, as one way of reducing such cases.
The department of immigration is already popular as one of the most corrupt in the country seconded by the Malawi Revenue Authority (MRA).
However on his part, Northern region immigration publicist Blackwell Lungu brushed aside the accusations citing all officers were fully trained thus they follow their job ethics.
“We just have mobility problems because we have one car, that is why sometimes our services are not up to standard,” said Lungu.
Recently the Malawi Police Service has faced criticism from the public for their involvement in robbery.