Malawi arrest American MSF boss for working without permit

Malawi Immigration official have arrested Médecins Sans Frontières -MSF (Doctors Without Borders) head of mission in the country for  allegedly working without a permit, Nyasa Times has learnt.

MSF is an international medical humanitarian organization.

Rodd Gerstenhaber, an American, was arrested by immigration officials on Thursday . An Immigration official not authorised to speak to the media, told  Nyasa Times   that MSF boss was “engaging in gainful employment without a working permit.”

Immigration Department record show that his work permit expired and he went back to United States.

He came back to pick up the post of Head of Mission but dint apply for a new permit or renewal of his expired permit.

Gerstenhaber  has  instructed local lawyers to represent him  on the matter.

Meanwhile,  the Immigration department has advised him to be on a de facto house arrest  until the matter is settled and not to report for duties until his work permit is sorted out.

President Mrs Joyce Banda has on several occasions expressed concern that officers and local Malawians are aiding foreigners to either stay or enter the country without following proper procedures.

“I am aware that 1,000 foreigners enter this country illegally every week through our borders, this is a major concern to my government because these people not only overpopulate this country, but engage in illegal businesses among other things,” she is on record to have said.

“As I am speaking now, I have Malawi passports of foreigners who can’t utter a single Chichewa word. These foreigners, I know obtained the Malawi passports after palm oiling immigration officers. This is a serious matter my fellow Malawians which should be stopped,” President Banda said.

In the recent months, there have been cases of illegal immigrants being arrested or deported from the southern African country.

However,  about 60 Ethiopian migrants perished in Lake Malawi after their overloaded boat capsized in June.

The president says the current security lapse the country is experiencing is partly attributable to the influx of foreign nationals.

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