Malawi’s Immigration Department has come out in the open and admitted that it is indeed harbouring an organised criminal syndicate that has been aiding illegal immigrants and human trafficking into the country.
The development comes barely a day after Malawi Police chief Inspector General Peter Mukhito accused the department of aiding the foreigners into the country.
Immigration Department Public Relations Officer, Peter Kakatera, also confirmed that one of their officers working at Kamuzu International Airport (KIA) in the capital Lilongwe was under police custody in relation to the issue.
The officer was arrested by police a few days after he was suspected to have played a role in aiding 10 Bangladesh nationals enter the country illegally.
The 10 foreigners entered the country through KIA but their passports were not stamped by the authorities upon their arrival into the country.
Their mission however did not succeed after police apprehended them at a road block in the company of the Immigration officer who had welcomed the group at the airport.
Earlier, the Immigration spokesperson feigned ignorance of the arrest of their officer but on Monday, he admitted and actually identified the person as a Mr. Chiutsi who is stationed at KIA.
“We can confirm that indeed we handed one of our officers to police for aiding 10 Bangladesh nationals enter the country illegally. This is not acceptable and if he is found guilty we will ensure that the law takes its course,” he said.
Kakatera further revealed that this was not the first time their officers have been arrested by police for a similar offence.
“Actually, some three months ago we also arrested and handed to police two officers who were also implicated in a similar syndicate,” he said.
Kakatera said their investigations have revealed the existence of a well organised syndicate that has been helping foreigners to enter into the country illegally through the airport.
“As a department we can indeed confirm that after our investigations we indeed have discovered that there is a very complicated criminal syndicate that is helping enter the country without proper procedures,” he confessed.
The Immigration publicist however said the syndicate “was a complicated problem” because it involves a number of stakeholders including its own officers, police officers and civilians who have been seen just loitering around KIA.
He said as a department, they have intensified investigations and assured that more will be brought to book.
Of late there has been a sharp increase in the number of foreigners particularly from East Africa entering the country illegally.
Most of them have been using unchartered routes such as through Lake Malawi, tankers, containers, among others.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :