By Anna Chibamu
REGISTRAR General Clemence Masango has called on Zimbabweans not to pay bribes to any of his officials when seeking for passports and any other identity documents.
The senior government official was responding to questions from the media after a tour by the Home Affairs Portfolio Committee at the Registrar General’s Department of Passport Production Centre in Harare on Thursday.
Masango said there was no justification in Zimbabweans parting with any extra fee other than the one stipulated for passport application.
The RG‘s plea comes after reports that some officials at the passport office were demanding bribes so as to fast-track the production of the documents amid a backlog of more than 340 000 due to foreign currency shortages.
“Do not pay. There is no justification for that. Corruption is a crime. Everybody must take responsibility in resisting it, fighting it and reporting it,” said the one time top police officer.
“If anybody has paid more than the statutory fee and there is no receipt obviously please come and also feel free to report to the police. The law will take its course. We will not condone corruption, we will not protect corruption.
“The President Emmerson Mnangagwa has made a very strong statement which we all must take responsibility to implement and give effect to.”
Masango said the department is governed by the civil service regulations and those who fail to follow the rules and regulations would be liable to penalties.
“If anyone offends those regulations, there are also clear regulations for punishment.
“I have always said that it is easy to allege corruption but it is always not easy to prove it.
“But I do not find most of our people willing to cooperate which make it impossible for law enforcement agents to detect for prosecution purposes. Why are we doing that?” he said.
Some desperate locals have had to pay huge amounts in bribes to officials as Zimbabwe’s passport shortage persists.
The Zimbabwean passport remains a much sought after document by locals who are keen to find greener pastures outside.