Zambian authorities probe into passport syndicate

01 Dec 2015 09:20am


The Zambian Police in Sesheke District are probing into a syndicate involving Zambian and Namibian immigration officers who are under the spotlight for allegedly stamping the passports of Zimbabwean nationals illegally.

On Monday, Zambian Police commanding officer of Sesheke District, Lemekani Chirwa confirmed to Nampa that they are looking into the allegations that Zambian immigration officers at Sesheke Border post were apparently working with their Namibian counterparts in the syndicate.

The syndicate was recently unearthed by the Anti-Corruption Commission of Namibia (ACC), where the anti-graft body found that Namibian officials at Wenela Border post with Zambia were allegedly illegally stamping the passports of Zimbabwean nationals for N.dollar 1 000.

It is believed the syndicate has been operating for a while as the Namibian officials, currently in Namibian Police Force (NamPol) custody, were found in possession of 77 traveling documents belong to Zimbabweans living in Windhoek. The passports were stamped, allegedly in the absence of the owners.

"We are seeking information into the case, as there are allegations that Zambian immigration officials are involved in the syndicate. We want to possibly engage with Namibia's ACC to divulge some information with us to use and bring to book any of the Zambian officials," Chirwa told Nampa at the Zambezi Regional Police headquarters.

Chirwa said the Zambian authorities only learned about the alleged syndicate through a media report by the Confidante weekly newspaper, which stated that the Namibian immigration officials were working with Zambian counterparts.

Those arrested include six Zimbabwean long distance bus drivers and their assistants who operate the Windhoek-Harare route. They were found in possession of some passports destined to be delivered to the immigration officials at the border posts.

When stamped, the passports reflect as if the rightful owners had travelled outside the country and then returned into Namibia, legally. Zambezi Regional Deputy Commissioner, Robert Sanjahi, declined to comment on how NamPol is working alongside their Zambian counterparts in investigating the matter.