Lesotho Times

Civil servants in passport scam

MASERU – Four civil servants who work at the Passport Office appeared in court last week to answer charges of fraudulently issuing Lesotho passports to two foreigners.

The four, ‘Matobatsi Mokhaboli, 40, Fumane Tsinyane, 36, Seipati Makumane and Libuseng Phatoli, 32, were remanded out of custody to March 6.

The state says by issuing the passports the four violated section 15 (9) of the Lesotho Passports and Travel Documents Act of 1998.

Under the Act it is an offence to issue Lesotho passports to foreign nationals.

The state says the accused unlawfully and intentionally issued Lesotho passports to two Pakistanis, Saleem Zahid Qurashi and Shalud Saeed Ibrahim.

The state says the two were not entitled to Lesotho passports.

This was in violation of Passports and Travel Documents Act of 1998, the state says.

The accused’s lawyer, Patrick Ts’enoli, told the court that his clients were co-operating with the police in their investigations into the case.

The lawyer pleaded with the court to grant bail to his clients.

The presiding magistrate, Masupha Kao, conceded to the request and granted bail to the accused.

“Having listened to your circumstances presented by your lawyer I find it necessary to grant you free bail,” Kao said.

The magistrate ordered the four not to interfere with witnesses.

The case against the civil comes as the British government announced two weeks ago that it was tightening visa requirements for Basotho wishing to travel to the United Kingdom (UK).

Britain last year said it was concerned by the printing and issuance of Lesotho passports to foreigners and criminals.

The UK government says a number of people have been arrested in Britain while in the possession of Lesotho passports.

Britain the requirement of visas for foreigners wishing to visit the country was meant to tighten the country’s border security in light of terrorist threats against the country.

Lesotho Times

Lesotho's widely read newspaper, published every Thursday and distributed throughout the country and in some parts of South Africa.

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