A number of senior police officers and Civil Registry officers in the Ministry of Home Affairs are reported to be behind an alleged security breach of the O’Mang national registration database in a bid to undermine the Botswana Police Service retirement programme.
This is reported to have spawned a burgeoning black market in forged O Mang identity cards which are used as false proof of age to evade mandatory retirement – Sunday Standard investigations have revealed.
A number of senior police officers who are past the mandatory retirement age are alleged to be conniving with Civil Registration officers to bring their birth dates forward so that they can extend their stay in the police service.
Information passed to Sunday Standard revealed that the police service is investigating some of its senior officers who are believed to have reduced their age in the civil registration database to evade mandatory retirement.
The officers are alleged to be conniving with some officers at the Civil Registration Department of the Ministry of Home Affairs who allegedly manipulate the official data and falsify dates of birth in the data base.
Once this has been done, the officers would then apply for a new Identity Card, claiming that the old card is lost.
Sunday Standard could not establish the extent of the data fabrication at the civil registration database; the issue however has raised questions about the integrity of the Civil Registry data.
In an interview with Sunday Standard on Friday, the Commissioner of Police, Thebeyame Tsimako, said, “It is true that when national identity cards were introduced, there were officers who used imaginary age because their parents were illiterate and they could not exactly recall the birth dates of their children.”
He said when original records were checked, they showed that birth dates on record did not match those on the O mang.
The Commissioner further said that currently there were about two cases they are looking into.
“Some time back one officer had to be dismissed after the officer failed to account for his age,” he said.
Some police officers, who refused to be identified, said that “it is true that there are some police officers who should have long retired but are still serving and still have a few more years to clock in the service”.
“We would appreciate it if the Commissioner could re-check all individual files and the birth dates,” they said.
Efforts to speak to the Director of Civil Registration were futile as she was said to be on an official trip to Mahalapye together with her deputy.