HOME Affairs secretary Melusi Matshiya told Parliament yesterday his ministry had introduced mechanisms to plug holes and minimise corruption at the country’s ports of entry after graft had threatened to get out of hand with some records going missing.
SENIOR PARLIAMENTARY REPORTER
Matshiya said at one time, they had to suspend the whole Victoria Falls immigration department and the entire registry department in Harare to curb corrupt activities.
“We have managed to take care of corruption and pilferage at immigration department through audits, internal controls and inspection in loco where heads of departments do on-spot checks and we have managed to nip that in the bud,” Matshiya said after members of the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Foreign Affairs raised concern over leakages at the border posts and airports.
The committee is chaired by Chipinge South MP Enock Porusingazi (Zanu PF).
“At one time, we had to suspend the entire outfit in Victoria Falls and the entire registry department of immigration after we had a situation where files went missing and I am glad to say that the people who replaced them are now more efficient,” Matshiya added.
He said out of the 35 immigration entry points, 20 were now computerised and immigration staff were more presentable since they had uniforms.
Matshiya said the ministry had plans to introduce new technological advancements at entry points that would include an electronic visa system, adding that would need to be protected so that it was not copied.
Immigration Department principal director Clemence Masango told the committee that the $100 000 the department was allowed to retain monthly was inadequate to cover their operational costs.
Masango said on average the department collected $1,5 million monthly, but they wanted the Ministry of Finance to revise the amount of money it allowed them to retain to $200 000.
He told the committee that members of the South Africa-based music group Freshly Ground were denied entry because they did not have a work permit.
“For Hifa [Harare International Festival of the Arts] to invite them to come without a work permit — that was an act of defiance and they cannot be allowed to get away with that,” he said.
Masango said in future, the department was looking at introducing electronic gates whereby Zimbabwean travellers, at port of entry, would just swipe their travelling documents and they would be electronically cleared.