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State warns immigration officers

CHALI MULENGA  Livingstone
GOVERNMENT has threatened to punish immigration officers engaged in corruption.
Deputy Minister of Home Affairs Gerry Chanda said there is a growing perception among the public that immigration officers are ‘very corrupt’.
He said Government will not hesitate to dismiss any public officer involved in illict activities.
Speaking when he toured immigration and police facilities in Kazungula on Tuesday, Colonel Chanda said as front line officers who received visitors, immigration officers, through their conduct, have the potential to build or destroy the country’s reputation.
“There is a perception that the immigration department is very corrupt. This is manifested in the way you handle people in these borders. So you have a moral responsibility to clear this reputation by doing the right things,” Col Chanda said.
He said the immigration is a critical department and advised officers to resist any corrupt activities but conduct their duties in a professional manner.
“This is a critical department for uniformed officers. Government expects you to perform exemplary in your duties and do not be tempted to engage into corrupt activities. I know that temptations are high but you should keep away from bad vices,” Col Chanda said.
He added that with the construction of Kazungula bridge, officers should brace for more temptation as there is an anticipated influx of people that will be using the entry point.
“In as much as the bridge will boost trade and economic growth in general, there are also greater chances of bad vices like smuggling and human trafficking that will be experienced,” he said.
Kazungula immigration officer-in-charge Michael Banda said the department is preparing for opening of the bridge with eight more officers expected to be deployed at the border.
Mr Banda, however, ruled out human trafficking at the border, adding that there are strict security measures instituted by authorities on the Botswanan side.
“We are expecting to receive eight more officers once the construction of the bridge begins to beef up staffing.
“And as for human trafficking, this route is not used because the Botswanan side is quite strict when it comes to people entering that country and so traffickers choose to use other entry or exit points,” Mr Banda said.

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