Thupeyo Muleya Beitbridge Bureau
THE $600 000 security upgrade at Beitbridge Border Post is fast paying dividends, with six corrupt Zimra, immigration and police officers having already been arrested after being caught on Closed-Circuit Television (CCTV) while collecting bribes. Government secured the equipment which also includes lie detector machines to curb corruption at the border post and ensure maximum revenue collection.
The CCTV equipment was installed by July at points unknown to border personnel. Two immigration officers based at the country’s busiest border were arrested last week after they were allegedly caught on camera taking bribes of R300 each from travellers.
It is believed that the two were paid to tamper with stamps for two people who had overstayed in Zimbabwe. The two, Precious Ndomupei Dumbu and Tinashe Gotosa, will soon appear in court.
The arrest brings to six the number of border officials, who have been arrested after Government introduced secret cameras at Beitbridge Border Post with the view of reducing corruption.
A border official close to the case said Dumbu and Gotosa were picked up by the Ferret squad soon after allegedly collecting the money from two travellers. The Ferret squad is made up of various security agents at the border including Zimra and Immigration officials.
“We picked them up soon after receiving the money which was concealed in two passports. Investigations are still in progress and they will soon appear in court,” said the official. A fortnight ago two, members of the police support unit were picked up by detectives from the Border Control Unit collecting money from illegal immigrants who were leaving and entering the country.
The official added that two Zimra officials had also fallen victim to the CCTVs, when they were seen collecting money from smugglers. Matabeleland South police spokesperson Inspector Philisani Ndebele said he was yet to get information on the arrest of the immigration officers.
Home Affairs Minister Dr Ignatius Chombo said during a recent visit to Beitbridge Border Post, that Government had secured the $600 000 that would be used in mobilising resources to curb corruption at the port of entry.
He said corruption was affecting Government’s revenue collection capacity. The Minister, who heads a Cabinet crack team set up to look into operations and reducing smuggling activities, said the country is losing a lot of potential revenue through underhand deals at the ports of entry.
Other members of the inter-ministerial team include; the Ministers of Finance and Economic Development, Mines and Mining Development, Environment Water and Climate, Industry and Commerce, and Agriculture, Mechanisation and Irrigation Development.
He said so far they had bought motorbikes and vehicles for patrols along the boundary line. “Lie detectors have also been acquired so that we curb corruption among border workers,” he said. Dr Chombo said they were working on setting up a new border parameter fence to replace the one that was vandalised by criminals.
“Mobile scanners and luggage scanners are now in use and we will do everything in our power in order to increase the revenue collection capacity. “It is sad that the Zimra is collecting $800 000, against a daily average of $1,2 million,” he said.
He said soon they will introduce the polygraph machines that will see workers at the border being subjected to lie detector tests which is the norm internationally.