Newly appointed chief immigration officer Hudson Mankhwala says his major task is to speed up processing of passports and clean up on illegal immigrants.
Mankhwala, who is currently studying towards a PhD at Exploits University in Lilongwe, has replaced Elvis Thodi whose contract has not been renewed as it expires next month.
Mankhwalaâ€™s appointment is effective July 11 2012, two days after government notified Thodi that it was not renewing his contract.
The Immigration Department has been rocked by corruption scandals and, in recent times, it has failed to contain the influx of illegal immigrants into the country.
Some officers are allegedly bribed to facilitate the illegal entry and processing of the immigrantsâ€™ passports.
But Mankhwala, who until his appointment was principal immigration officer, has said his priority is to address the issue.
“There is a lot of illegal immigration because our borders are porous. We intend to have joint border patrols with the police. The joint exercises will help us clean up the mess.
“We will also review various permits so that such [documents] are only given to deserving persons,” said Mankhwala, who has served the department since May 1985.
He also attributed the delay in processing passports to the recent shortage of forex in the country.
Mankhwala sounded optimistic government will support the department with adequate financial resources to enable it to buy adequate passport books.
Currently, the department is rationing issuance of the passports. It has the capacity of producing 500 passports a day, but the figures have drastically reduced due to shortage of materials leading to congestion at the passport offices in Lilongwe, Blantyre and Mzuzu.
On Friday, President Joyce Banda said she is aware of an illegal passport syndicate at Immigration Department.
Last month, 47 illegal immigrants, believed to be from Ethiopia, drowned on Lake Malawi as they avoided charted