BY NQOBANI NDLOVU
MATABELELAND North provincial registrar Willard Sayenda has been accused of causing the suspension and transfer of a number of staffers for allegedly speaking out against corruption at the provincial office in Lupane.
According to some staffers, trouble started late last year when auditors visited the office and reportedly unearthed graft in the issuance of passports and identity documents perpetrated with the blessings of Sayenda.
This has led some workers to write to Registrar-General Clemence Masango protesting victimisation, transfer to other offices or suspension on “cooked-up charges” allegedly on the instructions of Sayenda to ostensibly conceal the illicit deals.
“I am a member of staff at Lupane passport office and would like to bring to your attention that ever since Lupane passport office opened, we were working together nicely as an office in harmony before corruption manifested unfavourably ugly (sic),” one of the letters dated December 24, 2019 addressed to Masango read.
“Please take note that everyone was corrupt, so targeting individuals is not fair as the fair thing is that everyone must be charged or transferred, including the Lupane office head. In fact, he (Sayenda) is the one who is more corrupt because he approves these corrupt tendencies. We, junior officers, would not manage to initiate passports and birth certificates processes without him approving.”
Sayenda on Tuesday confirmed that some Lupane RG workers had been suspended or transferred to other offices, but did not want to comment on the charges of corruption laid against him.
“Yes, some of the workers have been charged with misconduct but I cannot comment further on confidential staff issues,” he said. “I have not had sight of the letters you refer to.”
The office started processing passport applications in 2018.
Another letter by an aggrieved worker reads: “What is happening is that ever since the province opened, the head came up with corrupt tendencies of issuing birth certificates (sic) … For avoidance of doubt on this issue, I would like to bring this case to your attention, where a Pakistan citizen was issued with a birth certificate, ID card and passport at Lupane provincial registry. The documents were issued under the name Sibanda Shollcat Saleem, ID no 41-116336-T-41.
“The client was an adult over the age of 16 years and it was clear that he is not Zimbabwean as he could neither speak Shona or Ndebele, but he went to Lupane and the birth registration forms were filled by a Mr Shoko and authorised by Mr Sayenda.”
Two staff members have appeared at the Lupane Magistrate Court over the issuance of an identity document to the alleged Pakistani.
The two were charged with abuse of public office.