Saturday, June 15, 2024

Malawi: Malawi Repatriates 5 Dangerous Warlords Identified Through Relocation of Refugees

The Ministry of Homeland Security announces that the Government has declared prohibited immigrants and repatriated 5 dangerous to their respective countries out of the 55 which are on the run.

A statement from the Ministry further says it is expected to repatriate over 50 refugees in collaboration with United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR), who have voluntarily accepted to return to their Rwanda and Burundi.

The Ministry has since thanked governments of Tanzania and Rwanda for providing security and support in this repatriation exercise while at the same time reiterating to the general public that as the relocation exercise continues, they should desist from harbouring refugees and asylum seekers.

On Wednesday, when the Malawi Police were engaged by the Parliamentary Committee on Defence & Security, Deputy Inspector General responsible for Administration, Happy Mkandawire announced that over 1,900 refugees and other asylum seekers were located to Dzaleka Camp in Dowa.

Mkandawire also disclosed that they have managed to seize 108 shipping containers which they suspect contain illicit goods belonging to the refugees who have been already relocated and others whose whereabouts is yet to be established.

He added that a total of 125 shipping containers were identified in various locations but as of June 15, 2023, they managed to seize 108 which the law enforcers suspect contains some illegal items such guns, machines for printing currency as well as huge sums of cash both in local and foreign currencies.

“The sad reality on the seized containers is that they are heavily locked and the owners are nowhere to be seen as no one amongst the refugees has come forth to claim ownership of the same,” Mkandawire told the Parliamentary Committee.

The Committee’s chairperson, Ralph Jooma said it has been established that some of the refugees obtained illegal citizenship documents using local names, assisted by the Immigration Department.

Last month, South Africa law enforcement agencies arrested Fulgence Kayishema — one of the fugitives most wanted for crimes they committed in the 1994 genocide against the Tutsi in Rwanda — and discovered that he evade captured capture by using a Malawian passport.

The passport was issued under the watch of Uladi Mussa in July 2007 when he was Minister of Home Affairs & Internal Security. Interestingly, Mussa was convicted by the High Court in 2020 and sentenced to six years in prison after he was found guilty of authorization of issuing illegal passports to asylum seekers — alongside a former senior immigration officer.

In his judgement, Justice Chifundo Kachale said Mussa abused his public office, neglected duty and uttered false documents — thus sentenced him to five years imprisonment for being found guilty of abuse of public office and 12-month imprisonment for neglect of official duties and the sentences to run concurrently.

But Mussa is now a free man having served three years after President Lazarus Chakwera pardoned him as part of this year’s Easter commemoration.

He was accused of taking bribes to issue Malawian passports between 2012 and 2014 to non-Malawians not eligible for the travel citizenship document.

From 2005 to November 2007, Mussa was Home Affairs Minister and and the passport that Fulgence Kayishema acquired indicates it was issued under Uladi’s watch — in July 2007.

Mussa was arrested in March 2017 and his trial has lasted three years. In July 2019, the US State Department banned him and his spouse from visiting the US because of his involvement in the passport scam.

In a statement, the US said it had acted “following credible information” that Mussa was involved in significant corruption while serving as a Cabinet Minister — but Chakwera went ahead to pardon him.

Kayishema was discovered and arrested in Paarl, South Africa on May 25 and has since been identified as having used Malawian passport to regularly cross into South Africa from Eswatini under a Malawian name Positani Chikuse.

A report by The New Times of Kigali, Rwanda says on May 19, 1998, Kayishema claimed asylum in Eswatini as a Burundian national, using the alias Fulgence Minani while his wife was also registered as a refugee using a false identity.

Whilst in Eswatini, Kayishema began using the Malawian identity to regularly cross into South Africa and on December 21, 1999, he claimed asylum in Cape Town as a Burundian national, using the alias Fulgence Dende-Minani.