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Immigration officers in diplomatic passport scandal

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AWARE OF THE MATTER —Chauwa

Some immigration officers have been arrested over diplomatic passports they have been issuing to non- Malawians.

Immigration Department spokesperson Joseph Chauwa has confirmed the development.

“I can confirm there are some people that have been arrested for issuing diplomatic to non-Malawians, the matter is currently in the hands of Fiscal Police who are investigating the issue,” Chauwa said.

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Our independent investigations show that the immigration officers have been arrested in connection with a Cameroonian, who is in custody in Columbia, with a Malawi diplomatic passport issued at Lilongwe Immigration office.

But when quizzed on this, Chauwa said the Ministry of Foreign Affairs would be better placed to comment.

There has been growing concern in the country that other nationals are being offered ordinary and diplomatic passports, contrary to the country’s Immigration Act.

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According to the Immigration Act of Malawi, only diplomats, elected members of Parliament and ministers are awarded diplomatic passports.

Parliament’s Defence and Security Committee Chairperson Ken Zikhale Ng’oma said this is a sad development, warning that this could make Malawi passports to have no value in the international world.

He emphasised that there is a list of office bearers who are entitled to diplomatic passports – among them the State President, cabinet ministers, legislators, High Court Judges, diplomats and selected members of the clergy.

“Diplomatic passports are ordinarily issued to people who travel internationally on official state business, no one can acquire a diplomatic passport without authorisation from the President, this must be a syndicate which needs to be busted,” Ng’oma said.

In 2017, the then Mzimba West member of Parliament Harry Mkandawire stunned the National Assembly when he accused top government officials of involvement in a 250 ordinary passports scam.

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