Pamela Shumba, Senior Reporter
COMPANIES and individuals are losing millions of dollars due to fraud involving fake identification documents, the Registrar General Mr Tobaiwa Mudede has said.
Addressing officials from Government departments, insurers and lawyers at a death registration workshop in Bulawayo yesterday, Mr Mudede said authorities should check the authenticity of registration documents before processing benefits for members of the public to avoid fraudulent cases that are on the increase.
He said there was an increase in people who present fake identification documents to claim from deceased estates, process international visas, claim compensation from insurance companies, get employment or defraud companies and individuals.
He said it was important for authorities to check with his office before processing anything as some people were producing counterfeit documents.
“From 2004 we have gone biometric and our documents have a lot of security features of international standards. While we are doing this, there are those who want to live on fraud.
“They produce counterfeits which are similar to our documents. They go to the authorities and produce these counterfeits. The authorities don’t have machines to verify. They look at the documents which look genuine and process benefits on the basis of what they have been given,” said Mr Mudede.
The most important thing, Mr Mudede said, is for these people to verify with the Registrar General’s department.
“We’re advising authorities to check with us for verification to avoid fraudulent cases of people who want to benefit from where they are not supposed to benefit. People are falling prey to such fraudulent cases.
“The security features on our documents are checked on our machines and we can tell you whether a document in question is genuine or not,” said Mr Mudede.
He said it was unfortunate that some authorities were accepting burial orders to process benefits for relatives of deceased people yet these are just temporary documents to facilitate burials.
“Some people are abusing burial orders and this is wrong because they are temporary documents that are only used before the person is buried.
“Once the person is buried they can no longer be used. It’s the death certificate that is used to process benefits,” said Mr Mudede.
He said fraudulent death certificates were affecting the distribution of estates of deceased people, pension benefits, insurance claims and medical aid services.
Mr Mudede said Zimbabweans were also using fake documents to secure employment outside the country and to extend stays by people on vacation in foreign countries.
He said undertakers were also using fake documents to smuggle bodies into the country.
The Registrar-General urged members of the public to take advantage of their efficient system to obtain national identity cards.
“This is an important document. We have decentralised the system to 10 provinces, 72 districts and we have established 206 sub offices. People with no identity documents should visit our offices.
“We have nearly 58 offices at hospitals where these identity cards are being issued. For those who have lost their documents our system is efficient, it shows all the required information and it’s an easy process to replace the documents,” said Mr Mudede.
My department has also put a satellite system which has been appreciated by the African Union (AU).
“We are a force to reckon in Africa and even some developed countries have marvelled our system,’ said Mr Mudede.
He said his department had designed a new passport which is world compliant which we will soon be launched.
“My department has a factory that manufactures and prints this passport. The new passport has a chip on the cover page which shows, when scanned on the computer, all the information about the passport holder,” said Mr Mudede.
He, however, said the old passport will remain in use until they expire. — @pamelashumba1