24 March 2019

Zimbabwe: Two Victoria Falls Immigration Officials Arrested

Police in Victoria Falls have arrested two immigration officials who allegedly issued instant visa documents to three Bangladeshi nationals in violation of Zimbabwean immigration policies.

Under Zimbabwean systems, nationals from the Asian country must first be vetted before being allowed entry via the country's borders.

People from Bangladesh are classified under Category C; meaning they have to make prior application for visas before they can enter Zimbabwe.

However, Lizzie Mupfururi and Ruvimbo Pedzisa, both stationed at Victoria Falls Airport, thought otherwise and produced visas for three Bangladesh nationals last month.

The two's duties involved, among others, examining travellers' particulars on entry and exit, scanning passports, and capturing data of travellers in the border management system, collecting and receipting appropriate visa fees and issuing visa stickers.

They appeared before Victoria Falls magistrate Lindiwe Maphosa to answer to charges of criminal abuse of office.

Mupfururi faces two counts while Pedzisa has one.

The two were remanded out of custody. They will be back in court next week.

Prosecutors allege that to cover up for the criminal activity, Mupfururi (32) and Pedzisa, aged 29, deliberately omitted scanning the three tourists' passports.

The offence came to light last week when the department noticed anomalies in the computerised system.

"On the 12th of February 2019, Mupfururi allegedly gave instant visas to Bangladesh nationals Uddin Miraj and Yeasin knowing they should have applied for visas before being allowed to enter the country," said prosecutor Sithabile Daka.

Pedzisa also issued Feroz Kazi of Bangladesh a visa without prior application.

Last year, the department was hit by similar scandals in Victoria Falls where eight officers stationed at there were and the airport attended to visitors from different countries and recorded lesser amounts in receipt books and pocketed the difference, thereby prejudicing the State of varying amounts of money.

The eight - Vincent Shoshore, Shillah Ndavani, Shepherd Gombwe, Simbarashe Nyamukachi, Joseph Raungana, Tichaona Munemo, Ruth Patience Mutasa and Misheck Chizema - were suspended from work without pay and benefits.

They later approached the High Court seeking an order nullifying their dismissal and blocking a disciplinary hearing.

Justice Nicholas Mathonsi halted their suspension.

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