The Ministry of Labour and Home Affairs has set up a team of retired security personnel to audit the “Omang” national identity cards.
Evidence has shown that many non citizens have acquired “Omang” illegally.
The Ministry’s probe runs parallel to that by Botswana Police Service.
This has been confirmed by Minister Edwin Batshu and deputy director of Criminal Investigation Department (CID) Kesetsenao Tsweneitsile.
Reports from the Department of Civil and National Registration under the Ministry of Labour and Home Affairs suggest that about a quarter of Botswana’s population is made up of non-citizens that have acquired “Omang” cards illegally.
It is reported that the ministry has assigned retired security personnel to audit the IDs as far as the date in which the card was introduced in 1988.
Among the retired officers assigned to audit the issuance of “Omang” cards are retired Botswana Police Commissioner, Norman Moleboge and retired Commissioner of prisons, Herman Kau.
Batshu revealed that the fraud at the Omang offices has not only led to non-citizens easily accessing identity cards, but has also resulted in a rise in criminal deceit in which perpetrators use identity cards to swindle their victims.
“We are having some serious problems with the national identity cards,” said Batshu in an interview with The Telegraph.
“In the last two years the ministry has embarked on intensive audit of IDs. The audit has revealed that most of the non-citizens have acquired the card illegally and such culprits are enjoying the benefits of being Batswana,” said Minister Batshu.
“What these people are doing is really unacceptable and the government will not in any way entertain such things,” he added.
The minister cited an incident where a government employee in his ministry assisted eight non citizens to acquire the card.
He said that several non citizens from different countries have acquired their National Identity cards illegally. He said many have been sent back to their respective countries with the cards being revoked.
Batshu also revealed that plans are underway for the IDs to be produced electronically, which will solve the many problems currently bedeviling the card.
Meanwhile, Tshweneitsile has confirmed the investigations.
“Yes it true that CID has set up a team of investigators to investigate issues surrounding the IDs country-wide,” said Tshweneitsile.
He said some of the issues surrounding card cases are very complex, adding that investigators will try by all means to conduct a comprehensive audit.
He said since the beginning of the year they have made tremendous progress in which suspects, especially non-citizens, have acquired the card illegally.
He said investigations have shown that some have acquired the ID through the assistance of government officials.
“I am not at this juncture able to provide the public with the statistics but we are making progress while in some there are challenges.”
He appealed to the public to assist them with information of those who acquired the card illegally.