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CBZ e-passport jackpot: ‘Crony capitalism under Mnangagwa’- Biti

MDC Alliance vice president Tendai Biti has blasted the government’s move of giving CBZ Holdings Bank a statutory monopoly to collect passport application fees without going to tender.

Government this week released Statutory Instrument 273 of 2021 announcing that an ordinary e-passport would cost US$100 while an emergency e-passport went for US$200. A US$20 application fee will also be paid at “any CBZ Bank branch countrywide”.

CBZ Holdings (the holding company) where Mnangagwa’s ally, tycoon Kudakwashe Tagwirei is reported to have a 30% stake (the majority shareholding) is the only bank mandated for payments of application fees.

Biti asked President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s administration how it came up with Tagwirei “as the producer of these passports?” He accused the fuel mogul of being “greedy”.

“The privatisation of passport production is yet another chapter in a lengthy anthology of crony capitalism under Emmerson,” Biti said.

“Passport data is a private security issue that can’t be outsourced. Further, what criterion has been used to select Tagwirei as the producer of these passports?

“Kuda Tagwirei’s greed is unprecedented so too is that of the person fronting him. He now controls fuel, forex, gold mines, platinum, the RBZ, Banks, pipelines, Road construction, command agriculture, NOCZIM & the Ministry of Finance. He controls Zimbabwe.”

The former Finance Minister added: “It’s unprecedented that a regime can decree that all passports will expire on a certain date. The processing of new passports will be a humongous multi-billion dollar business. It will also be a logistical nightmare. This regime has no boundary, no morality, no limitations, no shame.

“SI 273 of 2021 is blatantly unconstitutional. Kazembe Kazembe has acted outside powers provided to him by the Citizens Act Cap 4:01.

“That SI needs to be challenged in court. Enough of these roving bandits. Enough of a vacuous government driven by greed, avarice & aggrandizement.” Nehanda Radio

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