Officials to pay the price

Friday May 31 2013

By Anuciatha Lucas The Citizen Correspondent

Dar es Salaam. The ministry of Home Affairs has directed the Immigration department to take disciplinary measures against its two officials for mistreating parents of a journalist, Mr Erick Kabendera, during interrogations over allegations that they were not citizens of this country.

The director of the complaints in the department, Mr Augustine Shio, said that the whole exercise to determine the citizenship of Mr Kabendera and his parents was ill-advised and was not handled professionally.

He said, according to the ministry’s information, the citizenship of Mr Kabendera and his parents were not questionable.

Mr Shio, who was speaking on behalf of the minister for Home Affairs, Dr Emmanuel Nchimbi, said that a committee that was formed to investigate the matter following complaints from Mr Kabendera and the Journalists without Borders organisation also found out claims that the media mogul, Mr Reginald Mengi, funded the operation were unfounded.

“The committee, which was formed by the minister for Home Affairs Dr Nchimbi, has discovered that the money received by the two immigration officers, Mr Leslie Mbota, assistant Inspector of Immigration and his colleague, Mr Elisante Kaaya, were issued in accordance with the normal government procedures,” he said.

Mr Shio was responding to a concern that allowances paid to the two officers came from ‘outside the Immigration department’s system.’

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In his reaction, Mr Kabendera told The Citizen that he had been “encouraged and satisfied” with the government’s report, which has cleared the issue.

“I have been encouraged by the findings of the committee and satisfied that the government has finally put to rest the issue surrounding my citizenship and that of my parents,” Mr Kabendera told The Citizen in an interview.

He expressed concerns, however, that the committee had failed to make any comment regarding the second complaint - his personal safety, in which the committee had responded nothing about it,” Mr Kabendera noted.

Members of the committee came from the ministry of Home Affairs, office of the Controller and Auditor General (CAG) and the Prevention and Combating of Corruption Bureau (PCCB).