By Bulawayo Correspondent
SECESSIONIST group, Mthwakazi Republic Party (MRP), has claimed it has burst a “massive scandal” at the Registrar General’s Lupane office in Matabeleland North, where passport seekers from as far afield as Harare and Masvingo are being made to pay bribes as high as USD$100.
But an official at the Registrar General provincial offices in Bulawayo who cannot be identified immediately dismissed the allegations as fabrication.
“It’s pure fabrication. It would make no economic sense for someone to travel from Harare or Masvingo to go and apply for a passport in Lupane.
“If you factor in transport costs, that alone will be more than the cost of that passport. And imagine having to pay USD$100 on top of that,” the official told New Zimbabwe.com.
She said after checking with the Lupane office’s internal systems, no applicants from Harare or Masvingo had completed there.
The official however said the RG’s office was clear on its anti-corruption stance that any staff member found wanting will be severely dealt with.
In the statement Mthwakazi whose activities are confined to the Matabeleland and Midlands regions claimed the latest move was the reason most children in the western parts of the country did not have identity documents especially those affected by the post independence atrocities commonly referred to as Gukurahundi.
“Massive scandal rocks Lupane passport office. Mthwakazi Republic Party is saddened by the level of corruption at the Lupane passport office. The party’s intelligence department through a tip off raised by the Lupane residents has today unearthed a massive act of corruption by the officials at the Matabeleland North headquarters.
“The massive corruption scandal which was witnessed by the MRP intelligence department is so much disturbing. Scores of people from Harare and as far as Masvingo were today being served with urgent passports,” the fringe party led by Mqondisi Moyo screamed.
“They are made to pay bribes of about US$100 to the officials.”
An emergency passport costs RTGS$253 while the ordinary one which normally takes three months to be released costs RTGS$53.
The RG’s office is reportedly facing a huge passport backlog owing to foreign currency problems, which has seen it failing to source the required paper to print passports. President Emmerson Mnangagwa last week said government was capacitating Fidelity Printers, to take over the printing of passports after a foreign company that had been doing the job demanded payment in foreign currency.