The number of Civil and National Registration Department officers implicated in the sale of national identity cards to foreigners is growing, following recent police raids on the department.
It emerged during investigations that Tutume in the North East District, which shares a border with Zimbabwe, has been the hardest hit. About 17 foreigners using illegal O’Mang national Identity Cards issued at the Tutume Civil Registration office are at large.
Sunday Standard has learnt that the Botswana Police Service has raided the Civil and National Registration offices throughout the country and a number of officers believed to be part of the scam are either under surveillance, on suspension, dismissed or facing trial.
The assistant Communications Manager in the Ministry of Labour and Home Affairs Osesenaqa Lekgoko said, “I can confirm that there are three officers involved in three separate cases of illegal issuance of the National Identity Cards. One officer has been dismissed; another is on suspension and the third officer has already appeared twice in court for mention.”
She added, “To date, 17 cards are suspected to have been issued illegally and investigations are ongoing.”
She further explained that, “investigations as mentioned earlier are still in progress, we cannot say when the investigations will be completed as the assistance of the police has been enlisted and they will advise when they have completed their investigations”.
She said although the problem of issuing illegal IDs is not rampant, the department will continue keeping a watchful eye to ensure that such incidents do not recur.
She maintained that the O’mang identity card “is a secure document, its security can only be tempered with by those who manage its production in as much as they can ensure its security.”
She added that the “department is continuing to sensitize officers within the Department of Civil and National Registration on the importance of ensuring its integrity and we enforce discipline where necessary to ensure the continued security of the card.”
Speaking to Sunday Standard Botswana police spokesperson, Assistant Commissioner Christopher Mbulawa, said, “Our recent raids carried at the civil and national registration are bearing fruit.”
He said so far they have made arrests and some suspects implicated in the illegal issuing of IDs have been arraigned in various courts.
“About 17 foreign suspects were discovered to have being issued with Botswana IDs illegally,” he said.
He said because the suspects are traceable, they will be able to trace them and arrest them in due course.