Outspoken Mzimba West member of parliament Harry Mkandawire (People’s Party –PP) on Thursday exposed a passport syndicate in the National Assembly when he disclosed that a box of 250 blank Malawian passports got lost in December last year.
He told the House that on December 29 2016, the Department of Immigration received a consignment of passports from Technobrain, the supplier of the books, whose quantity was short with one box containing 250 blank passports.
According to the MP, Chief Immigration officer Masauko Medi signed for the consignment even though one box was missing as earlier the stores officer refused to sign for the same consignment.
“The Chief Immigration Officer signed for these passports. The crime is starting from that juncture,” said Mkandawire.
He asked Minister of Home Affairs and Internal Security to take Chief Immigration Officer to task.
“There is something fishy here,” said Mkandawire.
Mkandawire presented to the House objective material information on the missing blank Malawian passports, saying the missing serial numbers of the books were from MW853501 to 853750.
He said it was later discovered that one of the missing passports was issued to a Nigerian who posed as a Malawians from Mangochi with passport number MW853507.
“The Nigerian used the name Vincent Banda from Mangochi, meaning that 249 passports are still out there. Banda was arrested in South Africa en-route to UK, he was smuggling some goods,” Mkandawire told the House.
Mkandawire said the matter poses a security threat to the country.
Karonga Central MP Frank Mwenifumbo (Aford) agreed on ecurity concerns and said Malawi is being threatened by terrorists disguised as refugees which government want to relocate them to Karonga.
“There are terrorists from groups like al Shabab who are hiding in this country. They have been found with guns and we are not sure whether these cannpt be given passports because it seems everyone can get a passport in Malawi,” said Mwenifumbo.
Another PP legislator Ralph Jooma from Mangochi Monkey Bay called for Chief Immigration officer Medi to be investigated as he signed for the consignment with missing passport books.
Minister Chiumia told parliament that government was aware of the syndicate and that she will present to the House a ministerial statement on the matter.
“We are investigating the issue,” Chiumia said.
She disclosed that passport numbers from MW 853501 to 853750 have been declared null and void.
“We are sending officers to South Africa to investigate further,” Chiumia told parliament.
“We will have to find out how he [the Nigerian ] got the passport and who is behind this racket. Once we know who is behind this, they will face the law,” said Chiumia.
Chiumia refused to give detailed information fearing it would “jeopardise investigations.”
But Mkandawire proposed that the parliamentary committee on Defence and Security -which he chairs – should be manadated to investigate the matter, saying government cannot be trusted because it seems to be “party to the racket.”Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :