Leonard Ncube, Victoria Falls Reporter
SEVEN immigration officers stationed at Victoria Falls International Airport have appeared in court charged with fraud after they allegedly altered visas for visitors from different countries and pocketed varying amounts of money.
Promise Miti (37), Maboreke Enock Takura (29), Nonhlanhla Nyathi (39), Aron Mamvura (40) and Patience Chivi (31) as well as Kushinga Goremusandu and James Marowa whose ages were not given were arrested on Sunday.
They have since separately appeared before Victoria Falls resident magistrate Ms Lindiwe Maphosa charged with fraud.
Allegations are that the seven, acting separately, attended to British, American and Canadian visitors who should pay $55, $30, and $75 respectively for a single entry visa.
The immigration officers recorded lesser amounts on receipt books and pocketed the difference.
Their actions allegedly prejudiced the State of varying amounts of money. Through their lawyer, Mr Thulani Nkala, the seven indicated that they will plead not guilty to the charges and were each released on $200 bail.
They are expected back in court on May 10.
As part of their bail conditions, the accused were ordered to reside at their given addresses and not to interfere with witnesses.
Prosecuting, Mr Takunda Ndovorwi was opposed to the granting of bail saying the accused were a flight risk as they were facing serious charges likely to cause their dismissal from work.
“The accused forged nationalities on visa stickers. On April 22, the accused attended to a British tourist and treated her as Japanese. He made her pay for a British visa of $55 but didn’t remit the money,” said the prosecutor in respect of Goremusandu.
As for Miti, Mr Ndovorwi said on Monday last week he allegedly attended to four Canadians and treated them as Americans who pay less for single entry visas.
“They paid $75 and on the book he booked $30 while converting $45 to his own use thereby prejudicing the State of $180 for the four visitors,” said the prosecutor.
The court heard that Takura allegedly cleared two British and three Canadians on April 17 but booked them all as Americans to appear as if they had paid $30 for a single entry visa, thereby pocketing $185. The prosecutor said Nyathi cleared five British and 15 Americans and Canadian visitors between April 19 and 21 but booked them as German and American nationals who pay $30 each. By so doing, Nyathi prejudiced the State of $800.