Two Hundred and Eighty (280) Service Passports are currently in the hands of persons who should not be holding or carrying such passports.
This revelation was made known by the Auditor General in their just released 2018 Audit Report on the Management of Passports and other travelling documents.
“Twenty-eight (28) Service Passport Application records were issued to spouses and dependents of service passport holders, which is in contravention of the provisions in the 1998 Cabinet Paper (with reference CP 98 45) on the issuance of service and diplomatic passports. In the same vein, 280 service passports were issued to people who were not in the public service,” the report stated.
The corrupt practice by the Sierra Leone Immigration Department as revealed by the Audit Report has been described by many Sierra Leoneans as a messy state of affairs for the country.
Another major concern that has been expressed by many likeminded Sierra Leoneans is about the security of the people if an institution which is responsible for the entry and exit of people into the country can be this corrupt.
Some times last year, the Editor of the Night Watch Newspaper, Emmanuel C. Thorli was arrested and detained for an article he published pointing out that Diplomatic Passports are being issued out to families of politicians.
The Immigration Department also failed to submit a total of One Hundred and Two (102) naturalisation files for inspection despite several requests that were made by auditors.
The report further exposed that relevant systems and resources were either inadequate or not available in the management of passports and other travelling documents.