The Immigration Department has conceded that there are people within and outside the system who are assisting foreigners to get Malawian passports.
The department’s spokesperson, Joseph Chauwa, was commenting on reports that foreigners successfully get Malawian passports.
Mzimba West parliamentarian, Harry Mkandawire, told Parliament in May this year that on December 29, 2016, 250 blank passport books went missing from a consignment which the department received from their supplier, Technobrain, raising questions over security of the country’s passports.
The department is yet to make any headway in tracking the Nigerian, suspected to be behind the missing passport books amid reports that he escaped from custody in South Africa.
Chauwa said, on top of bad apples within the system, the department is also faced with the challenge of impersonators who are aiding foreigners to get local passports.
“We face the challenge of people within the system but in most cases they are impersonators who lie that they work at the Department of Immigration and try to help people get passports using short cuts. The worst problem is that they are also helping foreigners to get Malawian passports,” he said.
Chauwa said impersonating immigration officers and aiding foreigners to get local passports are crimes and the department is investigating the matters to bring all the culprits to book.
“These are the people who are tarnishing our image as the Department of Immigration. The passports are exclusively for Malawian citizens and aiding foreigners to get them is a crime,” he said.
Minister of Home Affairs, Grace Chiumia, promised to report to Parliament on the issue of the missing 250 blank passport books and security of Malawian passports in general.