A SCAM has been unearthed at the Midlands registry department amid revelations that there is a pile of uncollected passports issued as far back as 2005 with some of the officers being accused of asking for bribes for one to collect the travelling document.
It emerged during a tour of home affairs department in the Midlands province that some officials in the passport department are in the habit of asking for kickbacks when it comes to the collection of passports.
Home Affairs and Cultural Heritage Minister, Kazembe Kazembe says his office is seized with the matter and doing everything possible to deal with the vice.
“There is no smoke without fire. People are accusing us of corruption and there is an element of truth in this. We are here to lay our hands on the actual truth on this issue. Let us all be responsible citizens. Corruption kills our economy and I’m warning those involved that the law will take its course. So I am kindly asking you to desist from this practice. We will get you.”
Minister Kazembe also spoke on the need for departments under his portfolio to improve efficiency by adopting modern trends.
“We want to see a positive change in the way we carry our business. For us to achieve vision 2030, we need to move with time. We need to computerise our systems. The problem is we are too scared to try new things yet the benefits to be accrued from modernism are more than the cost. We should link our registry with the central systems so that we improve in the way we do business.”
The registry department has been under the spotlight amid reports that they have a passport backlog of between 350 000 and 400 000 as it is clearing backlogs dating from September 2018.
The registry department also recently set US$318 as passport fees for diasporans but reports emanating from the offices reveal the fee is now being unlawfully charged for local citizens