Minister of Home Affairs and Internal Security Grace Chiumia has expressed surprise at recent reports linking a Malawian of Rwandan origin Vincent Murekezi to the 1994 Rwandan genocide crimes.
Speaking in an interview yesterday, Chiumia said government does not have information relating to Murekezi’s alleged criminal activities.
She said: “I know Murekezi as one of the successful businesspersons in the country; hence, reports [linking] him to genocide crimes came as a huge surprise to me. Yesterday [Monday], I ordered the Immigration Department to provide me with his bio-data and files.
“I am told they have submitted the files and I will soon be studying them so that I get a picture of where these reports might be coming from.”
Chiumia further said she will be surprised if the country’s immigration system is so porous to harbour and grant citizenship to someone wanted back in his country for a serious crime such as genocide.
“I have taken personal interest in the matter. I will be studying his files to get to the root cause of these reports,” she said.
In separate interviews, Immigration Department spokesperson Joseph Chauwa dismissed reports that Murekezi acquired two passports in a space of five years.
He said passport number MA078171 being attributed to Murekezi is in fact a doctored travel document.
“Someone just wants to put him in trouble. We issued Murekezi with only one passport which he got in March this year. Its passport number is MA606888. He met all the requirements for the awarding of citizenship and a travel document,” he explained.
Chauwa said Murekezi, who initially applied for temporary residence permit after securing police clearance, has been in Malawi since 2003.
A senior official at the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) Enid Othieng said the reports have potential to “jeopardise livelihoods of refugees currently living in the country”.
He, therefore, appealed to Malawians to avoid sensationalising the issue. n