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Alleged corruption at Immigration

September 9, 2016 By Mohamed Massaquoi

Director of Administration and Finance at the Immigration Department, Alusine A Joaque has told Concord Times in an interview that two of their personnel were transferred to the provinces on the grounds of alleged corruption.

He said the matter was not reported to the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) but rather administrative action was taken against the said personnel, adding that they have developed a service charter in collaboration with the ACC but some individuals preferred dealing with the wrong people in acquiring passports.

He said it was a concern to them that some Sierra Leoneans were being duped by bad businessmen who were in the habit of impersonating immigration officers, adding that the department has created a customer service unit to ensure that Sierra Leoneans get the appropriate services.

“It is very sad to note that these criminals are extorting money from people. That is one of the reasons we moved the immigration office to the current location. While at the old building, we developed the service charter and it was located in front of the building but some Sierra Leoneans would still go to those businessmen across the street to help them fill in their forms,” he said.

“We have embarked on series of sensitization campaigns to change that mentality but it is still difficult for people to change. Passport is Le500, 000 and it is by law. I am not expecting any person to go to another office or individual rather than coming here to acquire their passport.”

 He added that management believed in transparency and accountability and that every effort would be made to fight corruption in the department.

Meanwhile, Concord Times investigation discovered that the two personnel were allegedly conniving with some individuals outside the department to extort money from people who do not properly understand the procedure in acquiring Sierra Leonean passport.

It also revealed that a good number of Immigration personnel allegedly  have their agents at the old immigration office on Rawdon street who are extorting money from people and that certain unscrupulous businessmen are still  at the said building collecting money from people in the name of registering them for Sierra Leonean passport.

“I am working directly with some individuals within Immigration to fast-track the process of registration for passport applicants,” said one Mohamed Sillah.

He said they are collecting six hundred and fifty thousand Leones from applicants for a normal passport, adding that they have to buy the form from the National Revenue Authority and fill it on behalf of their clients at the of  cost one hundred and fifty thousand Leones.

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