Immigration officers ‘corruptly’ issue 17k work permits – AG
The Auditor General Dick Sichembe has revealed that over 17,000 work permits were issued by suspected corrupt officers at the immigration department to foreign nationals whose skills are locally available and should not have been issued in the first place.
This revelation means that over 17,000 Zambia’s lost out on promotions and jobs to foreign nationals due to the negligent acts of a few corrupt immigration officers. The Auditor Generals review shows that these roles could have been given to local Zambians.
According to the report made available to the Zambian Business Times – ZBT, Sichembe stated that some the immigration department was found by his office to have been “awarding employment Permits to foreigners for skillsets locally available”
He stated that “an analysis of permits issued by the Department during the period under review across the Country, revealed that the Department considered and approved application for employment permits for 17,004 foreigners and renewed permits for 9,242 others whose skills should be transferable”.
President Hakainde Hichilema yesterday during a press conference warned that he expects respective agencies such as the Anti-Corruption Commission – ACC, Drug Enforcement Commission – DEC and other relevant investigative agencies to take necessary action following revelations by the Auditor General and the Financial Intelligence Centre reports.
These reports are issued every year but due to the investigative agencies lethargy, the cases keep on increasing in some instances. In some cases, the erring officers are suspended but brought back to continue their deeds due to loopholes in the system.
Investigative agencies have recently come under public scrutiny for only acting on politically inclined cases at the expense of routing out corruption in the private sector as well as in the larger civil service and at all levels of government.
The issuance of work permits is one area that is susceptible to corruption due to the strong interests from mostly private companies seeking to place their international experts. Employment and immigration consultancy agencies are usually the middle men used in these instances.