By Leonard Ncube
Two immigration officials stationed in Victoria Falls have been arrested after they allegedly issued instant visas to three tourists from Bangladesh without following laid down procedures.
Bangladesh nationals are classified under category C which requires prior application for visa and clearance by immigration before one can enter Zimbabwe.
Lizzie Mupfururi (32) and Ruvimbo Pedzisa (29) who were both stationed at Victoria Falls International Airport allegedly issued instant visa documents to three Bangladesh nationals in violation of Government policy.
The two were arrested last week following investigations.
They appeared before Victoria Falls resident magistrate, Ms Lindiwe Maphosa, charged with criminal abuse of office.
The two were not asked to plead to the charges and were remanded to March 29 on $100 bail each.
Prosecuting, Mrs Sithabile Daka-Munkombwe said Mupfururi faces two counts while Pedzisa is charged with one count.
“On the 12th of February 2019, the accused Ruvimbo Pedzisa was on duty at Victoria Falls International Airport when a Bangladesh national, Feroz Kazi, arrived.
Contrary and inconsistent with Zimbabwe policy on Bangladesh, the accused as a public officer showed favour by issuing a visa to the visitor who had not made prior application,” said the prosecutor.
On the same day, Mupfururi allegedly gave instant visas to Bangladesh nationals Uddin Miraj and Yeasin knowing they should have applied for visas before being allowed to enter the country.
The court was told that Mupfururi and Pedzisa allegedly deliberately avoided scanning the visitors’ passports to cover up for the crime.
Mupfururi and Pedzisa’s duties involved among others, examining travellers’ particulars on entry and exit, scanning passports and capturing data of travellers in the border management system, collecting and receipting appropriate visa fees and issuing visa stickers.
Ms Linda Mtombeni of Mvhiringi and Associates is representing the pair. The duo’s arrest follows the suspension of eight other immigration officers last year on allegations of receiving bribes from foreigners to alter visas.
Acting separately, the eight attended to visitors from different countries and allegedly recorded lesser amounts in receipt books and pocketed the difference thereby prejudicing the State of varying amounts of money.
They were suspended without pay following their arrest in May 2017 at Victoria Falls Border Post, Kazungula Border Post and Victoria Falls International Airport.
The eight officers have since challenged their suspension in court and the case is pending at the High Court. The Chronicle