Anti-corruption Bureau’s (ACB) Corruption prevention officers together with the Department of Immigration and its clients on Thursday held discussions on public awareness program on corruption.
In the discussion, Susan Phiri, corruption prevention officer, told passport applicants that once they pay the required fee, there is no need for them to pay extra money.
”No officer should tell you to pay more than what is required. If you pay K48, 500 that money is enough for your passport to be issued. Report to ACB any immigration officer who will demand extra money after you have paid the actual fee.
“Let’s fight corruption together; sometimes it’s us applicants who are the first to offer bribes to officials for speedy issuance of travelling documents because we are impatient. We should not do that because once we are found we will be arrested and be sent to jail,” she said.
Phiri also told passport applicants to deal with uniformed officers only as they can be traced, and stop dealing with middle men because a lot of people have cried foul after losing their money as middle men aim at stealing from unsuspecting clients.
She further gave a stern warning to Malawians who help foreigners to acquire Malawi passports by being witnesses and giving false information.
”Some of us bring foreigners to Immigration offices and claim to know them. That is a security threat to our nation. Let’s be patriotic and protect our nation by reporting such people to proper authorities because we don’t know their behaviours,” she said.
Memory Pindani, another corruption prevention officer, encouraged clients that patronise immigration offices to report all corruption activities and gave out phone numbers, as well as addresses to which applicants can forward their complaints.
” You can even come to our ACB offices personal. But make sure you have all the details such as names of the people involved, time, day, year and place. We will also put suggestion boxes so that you put in your views and concerns,” she said.
When it was their turn, applicants complained about their passports taking more than the stated time to be issued. One applicant asked the ACB officials if they have done research as to why corruption is high at Immigration offices and in Malawi as a whole.
”Corruption is so high in Malawi because those who collect revenue are paid peanuts. How do we expect people who deal with money every day and are paid little, to refuse an offer from someone? Corruption will end only when the government starts paying immigration officials what they deserve,” he said.
Before meeting the clients, ACB officials held a short meeting with officers where the Regional Immigration Officer (RIO) for the centre, David Kwanjana urged officers to work hand in hand with ACB officials as they are not their enemies but work partners who help in reminding them some work ethics so that they don’t move out of line.
” Corruption is not done by one person only. If corruption happens at an office it means a client and an officer are involved. If ACB visits us, it doesn’t mean we are targets but to remind us some work principles that we need to accomplish as we deal with the clients from a corrupt society,” Kwanjana said.
A survey done in the past revealed that immigration offices are among the places where corruption is happening so much in Malawi. Hence the Immigration Management involving ACB in sensitizing officers and clients on the dangers of corruption as well as the outcomes once one is caught.–ManaFollow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :