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15 to testify in missing passport books case

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Cecilia Zangazanga, yesterday told the Lilongwe Senior Resident Magistrate’s Court that the State is ready to parade 15 witnesses in a case two immigration officers and others are being suspected to have connived in the missing of 250 passport books.

Zangazanga told the court when two immigration officers, Francis Chigwembere and Henry Chidakwa, Burundian Emannuel Habumureni, Rwandese Joshua Wzanyamahoro and Nsengi Fataki from DR Congo appeared before the court.

The accused are answering nine charges-namely, forgery of government properties and individual signatures, official corruption and theft, among others.

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They have since pleaded not guilty to all the charges.

The five were arrested last week for allegedly conniving to steal 250 blank passport books contrary to Section 278 of the Penal Code.

Chigwembere and Chidakwa are also being charged with official corruption contrary to Section 90 sub section (a) of the Penal Code.

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Particulars of the offence are that Chigwembere and Chidakwa in 2016, being employees in the Public Service as immigration officers, allegedly corruptly received K300,000 cash from Fataki on account that they should process passports for him.

The accused were arrested following investigations into a passport syndicate that was busted in December last year.

Last year, a Nigerian, using the name Vincent Banda en-route to the United Kingdom, was arrested in South Africa and was interrogated after being found with a Malawian passport.

On December 29 2016, the Department of Immigration received a consignment of passports from Technobrain, the supplier of the books, whose quantity was short of one box containing 250 blank passport books.

The court is today expected to rule whether to release the accused on bail.

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