Two Immigration officers and an ex-officer have been arrested on allegations of corruptly facilitating the illegal stay of several Chinese nationals in the country.
The Chinese were illegally staying in Zimbabwe after allegedly being fraudulently issued with visas by the three. Two principal immigration officers, Blessing Chirumarara and Hopewell Chikosha, who are stationed at Robert Gabriel Mugabe International Airport were arrested together with an ex-officer Munyaradzi Mushimbo, who was formerly based at the Gweru offices.
The Department of Immigration is still trying to find out just how many foreigners who were allegedly fraudulently assisted to acquire visas by the three. Sources close to the investigations said in one of the cases, a team of immigration officers led by Principal Immigration Officer Fadzai Jayne Matarise went to Belgravia to conduct compliance checks and approached Mr Song Changyu, who produced his passport. The team then checked the travel history endorsements and the visitors entry certificate that were on his passport.
The endorsements in question were dated December 24 last year.
They became suspicious and engaged their colleagues, who work at the airport to verify the authenticity of the travel history. It was discovered that all the visas had been allegedl fraudulently acquired at the airport after the foreigner connived with Chirumarara, who she had paid an undisclosed bribe to facilitate the process.
Mr Song was arrested and he allegedly confessed during questioning that he had paid Chirumarara a bribe. After his arrest, Principal Immigration Officer Godfrey Kondo was assigned to handle the case and discovered that Mr Song been unlawfully issued with a visa entry certificate on December 24.
Chirumarara was arrested and taken to the Harare Magistrates court where she was freed on $500 bail. Chikosha and Mushimbo were also arrested recently after they fraudulently connived to process a visa for another Chinese citizen, Chen Jiahong, using the same method of operation.
The Department of Immigration has since launched intensive investigations as they believed that they are more foreigners who are staying in the country illegally.