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Immigration Department tops corruption list

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By Serah Makondetsa:

A survey which Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) and National Statistical Office (NSO) conducted has revealed that 54 to 67 percent of service users perceive corruption levels as high at the Department of Immigration and Citizenship Services (ICS) and Directorate of Road Traffic and Safety services (DRTSS).

The revelation was made in Blantyre yesterday during the launch of Integrity Assessment Report after a survey was carried out at the two public institutions.

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Speaking to journalists. ACB Director General, Reyneck Matemba said results of the survey were not encouraging but was quick to say managements of the two institutions were working at curbing the vice.

“The percentages are not that encouraging; [negative] perception is rampant among respondents we interviewed as regards the two institutions. For your information, we interviewed both employees of the two institutions as well as the clients they serve and the results show that 54 to 67 percent of the people feel that cases of corruption are still high at the two institutions as well as levels of integrity,” he said.

The study found that 61 percent of DRTSS service providers felt that officials take bribes while 44.4 percent of users acknowledged that money, in form of a bribe, is paid out.

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“The study also found that 38.2 percent of ICS service providers agreed that bribery was demanded for a service to be done, 75.7 percent of service users agreed that a bribe was paid out to officials for a service.

“It is very alarming that the study has shown that the majority of service providers at DRTSS perceive that some officials take bribes,” reads part of the report.

Commenting on the matter, ICS Director General, Masauko Medi, said, while the public may think that officers at the department are corrupt, they have measures in place to curb cases of corruption.

“The report is not talking about the Immigration [Department] being the most corrupt department. The report is talking about the perception of both my officers and the general public. [They were asked] if they know of any corruption [practices] happening at the Immigration [Department] and the report has said they know of corruption that is happening at the Immigration[Department]. The reflection is at the beginning of the process and during; those are the perceptions of my officers and the general public,” he said.

DRTSS Director, Fergus Gondwe, said the department would attend to the issues raised in the report.

“Corruption issues are behavioral and I still believe that these are a few individuals who are involved in the malpractice and they do not want to change their behaviour; otherwise, we must not generalise it as the behavior of all officers at the department.

“As a grouping, you may not run away from some behaviors [due to people] that do not want to abide by the rules and regulations of the country,” he said.

The survey was conducted for a period of two years and, according to ACB, the survey provides an objective measurement of integrity.

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