Monday, April 19, 2021

Civil registration offices raided, ID cards seized

A well-established transnational scam, comprised of government officials, has been exposed after the police recently raided civil registration offices throughout the country, with the investigation agency seizing government documents.

The raid came after it emerged that thousands of IDs had been issued to non citizens who are now enjoying the benefits of being Botswana citizens.

Three suspects are expected to appear before the magistrate court sometime this month.

Information reaching Sunday Standard indicates that the Criminal Intelligence Bureau (CRIB) has already raided civil registration offices and found a good number of government officials to be at the centre of the scam.

It is understood that the scam is comprised of government officials, ex officials, non citizens as well as ordinary people.

It involves both non citizens and ordinary people who connive with government officials who issue ID cards to non citizens.

CRIB has arrested three men, believed to be part of the scam, and they will appear before the magistrate’s court in a few days to come.

Speaking to Sunday Standard, the Public Relations Officer of Botswana Police Service, Assistant Police Commissioner, Christopher Mbulawa, said they are investigating a case in which national identity cards are allegedly being sold to foreign nationals at a very alarming rate.

“We are not yet sure how many cards have been sold,” he said but added that some civil registration offices were raided by the police throughout the country and over 60 cards were confiscated.

He said although investigations are still at an initial stage, he did not rule out the possibility that the number of suspects will increase.

He could, however, not reveal how much the IDs are being sold for, saying that it is part of investigations.

Mbulawa warned Batswana that they should stop the tendency of selling national identity cards to foreigners because an ID is a security document.

The Director of Civil Registration, Neo Lopang, was not available to comment at the time of going to press.

Meanwhile, the government has announced that it is considering improving the security features on national identity cards.

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