Fake stamps syndicate: Man fined $800
Thupeyo Muleya Beitbridge Bureau
A Beitbridge man believed to be part of a syndicate using fake South African and Zimbabwean immigration stamps to clear travellers between the two countries has been fined $800.
Fanuel Muyani Shope (49) of house number 767 Dulivhadzimo Township in the border town was arrested by police detectives soon after endorsing seven Zimbabwean passports.
At the time of his arrest, the man had four fake replica South African and two counterfeit Zimbabwean immigration stamps.
Shope is part of a racket which fraudulently endorse fake immigration stamps on passports, mostly in the absence of the owners, to extend their stay in both countries.
He was convicted on his own plea of guilty to contravening sections of the Immigration and Criminal Law (Codification and Reform) Acts respectively when he appeared before Beitbridge resident magistrate Mr Langton Mukwengi.
If he defaults on paying the fine, Shope will be imprisoned for six months.
The Herald is reliably informed that citizens of the two countries, most of whom are Zimbabweans illegally living in South Africa, occasionally give cross-border bus drivers or wheeler dealers their passports for endorsement at the border.
It would then appear as if they would have returned to Zimbabwe at some point and this “legalises” their stay in that country and in most cases they use fake immigration stamps.
Prosecuting, Mr Jabulani Mberesi, told the court that on April 7 at 6am, police detectives deployed to Beitbridge Border Post received a tip off about Shope’s illegal dealings at the port of entry.
It was reported that he was in possession of several fake immigration stamps in his car, which he was using as a “mobile immigration office”.
The detectives then closely monitored one of his clients, Brighton Karonga, and followed him as he entered Shope’s Toyota Passo (AED4771), which was parked within the border’s Departures Section.
They closed in on the duo and searched the vehicle, leading to the recovery of seven Zimbabwean passports, six counterfeit immigration stamps and an ink pad, leading to Shope’s arrest.
The use of fake immigration stamps has become an eternal headache for the two governments’ border authorities.
Over 10 people have been arrested while over 60 fake immigration stamps were recovered by security agencies at the port of entry (Beitbridge) in the last 12 months. Under South Africa’s immigration laws, Zimbabweans are allowed a stay for not more than 90 days in that country per year.
Immigration officers at the border are reluctant to give Zimbabweans more days in that country.
This has seen some syndicates using this an opportunity to award people 90 days per each single entry, for a fee.