Immigration Department speaks on shortage of Passport books

Director General of Immigration services

The stock out and shortages of Passport books at the Department of Immigration which has been there for some time is due to delay in remittance of funds to the service provider Techno-Brain.

The department's Director GeneralBrigadier General (Retired) Charles Kalumo acknowledged the problem was worse but assured that it’s now towards the end because there is a settlement agreement on the termination contract with Techno Brain to ensure availability of the books.

Speaking during an interface with the Parliamentary Committee of Defence and Security, Kalumo said he is limited as the matter went to court and government is settling it out of court.

According to the DG, government paid the first tranche which is an equivalent of $7 million committed through the central bank and it was the hope of the Department that it was only going to take 10 days to supply 340,000 booklets.

He however stated that the Reserve bank of Malawi (RBM) is having forex shortages hence it’s failing to remit the amount to the supplier.

The Immigration office in Lilongwe

From January 2022 to January 2023, in Blantyre the Department has issued 303031 booklets, in Lilongwe 900093, while in the north a total of 13, 000.

Currently, priority is been given to Members of Parliament, on the need basis, very important government trips and those going on medical trips.

He indicated that they don’t have problems with Diplomatic passports.

Legislators also queried why when people come to apply for passports, they are asked to pay something.

The legislators were hopeful his appointment would change the image of the Department as being one of the most corrupt institutions in the land.

Vice Chairperson of the Defence and security Committee Bester Awali (R)

The DG said he is very surprised by the allegations which were being made as they are very serious.

Kalumo further said ever since he came in, he told staff that this kind of behavior is unacceptable by any civil servant and warned them on the consequences on this type of tendency because they need to serve the public.

He assured that he will take responsibility in making sure that the malpractice comes to a stop.

Deputy Vice Chairperson Bester Awali, said they are yet to get information from the DG on the remittance of the US$7000 due to lack of forex and application made to Reserve Bank of Malawi.

 “The allegations that when people are travelling outside they are being charged extra fees for their passports to be stamped, the Director General has assured us that he will take responsibility into making sure that these malpractices have come to a stop”.