Passport seekers are reportedly asked to pay bribes to get the travel documents as the Registrar General’s office is in short supply of ink and paper needed for printing passports.
Last week, some passport seekers who spoke to Reuters reported that they were being told to check their documents in 2022. Home Affairs minister, Cain Mathema, however, said that within four to five weeks, the government will be printing above 3000 passports a day to clear the backlog that dates back to 2018.
The Standard reports that officials at the Registrar General’s office are taking advantage of the desperate situation to milk passport seekers. One of the officials is reported to have said:
I can help you, my brother, just your money and you will get your passport after a week that is if you are serious.
The publication further reports that for emergency passports, officials are charging US$4 000 bribes for emergency passports and US$100 for ordinary passports.
These reports are in sync with earlier reports by the opposition Mthwakazi Republic Party which said that it had unearthed corruption at the Lupane registry. The part further reports that people from cities such as Bulawayo, Harare and Masvingo were being allowed to submit passport applications after paying bribes.
The reports were however refuted by officials at the Lupane registry who argued that it was illogical. They noted that travel costs alone would outweigh the cost of the passport they will be seeking.
More: The Standard