SEVEN immigration officers stationed at Victoria Falls International Airport were yesterday dragged to court on fraud charges, after they allegedly converted visa fees paid by tourists from different countries to their own use.
By Nokuthaba Dlamini
This was heard when Kushinga Goremusandu, James Morowa (age not given), Promise Miti (37), Maboreke Enock Takura (29), Nonhlanhla Nyathi (39), Aron
Mamvura (40) and Patience Chivi (31) appeared before Victoria Falls resident magistrate, Lindiwe Maphosa, charged with fraud following their separate arrests on Sunday.
Allegations against them are that, acting separately, they attended to British, American and Canadian visitors, who should pay $55, $30, and $75, respectively for single entry visas per person, but they would record lesser amounts on receipt books than the actual amount on visa stickers and pocket the difference.
It is alleged that they recorded the visitors as Americans, German and Japanese in official books purporting they had paid $30 per single entry visa, whereas each had paid full amounts applicable to their respective country’s visa requirements.
For the State, Takunda Ndovorwi further said that the seven would receive full amounts from the visitors, but receipt on the visa stickers a lesser amount and by so doing prejudiced the State of varying amounts of money.
Through their lawyer, Thulani Nkala of Dube and Company, the seven denied the charges and were each granted $200 bail.
Miti, Ndovorwi on Monday last week, allegedly attended to four Canadians and treated them as Americans and allegedly issued them with single entry visas.
“They paid $75 and on the book he booked $30, while converting $45 to his own use, thereby, prejudicing the State of $180 for the four visitors,” the prosecutor said.
It was further alleged that, Takura cleared two British and three Canadians on April 17, but booked them all as Americans to appear as if they had paid $30 for a single entry visa, thereby, pocketing $185.
The prosecutor said Nyathi cleared five British and 15 Americans and Canadian visitors between April 19 and 21, but booked them as German and Americans, who pay $30 each, prejudicing the State of $800.
It is alleged that during the same period, Marowa attended to three Canadians and two British, whom he booked as Americans for double entry visas.
British citizens pay $45 for double entry visas and the accused allegedly prejudiced the State of $185.
Mamvura and Chivi allegedly served one Canadian each and treated them as American citizens and pocketed $45 each.
As part of the bail conditions, the accused were ordered to reside at their given addresses and not to interfere with witnesses.
They will next appear in court on May 10.
The offences came to light after an internal tip-off.