The Immigration Department says the country is losing over K23 million annually in efforts to curb illegal immigration in the country.
Speaking Friday at Mzuzu Magistrate Court during the sentencing of three men who aided 75 immigrants to enter the country, Northern Region Immigration Department prosecutor, Benjamin Gondwe said the money could be used to address other challenges the country is facing.
“Already Malawi is a developing nation with a lot of her own challenges hence the K23 million figure is huge. It is even more painful when you learn that Malawians are involved in aiding these illegal immigrants,” Gondwe said.
Last week, immigration department officers intercepted three minibuses in Chiweta Hills. The minibuses were travelling from Karonga to Mzuzu carrying immigrants.
The drivers of the minibuses, namely, Kapiseni Kadyampakeni,33, Frank Chisuse,35, and Samuel Mwale,27, were all arrested and charged with aiding and abetting unlawful entry of illegal immigrants contrary to Section 36(1)(a) of the Immigration Act and Chapter 15:03 of Malawi laws.
Prosecutor Gondwe said the three were illegally earning a lot of money through their actions in helping illegal immigrants hence the need to give them a stiffer punishment.
“Apart from that, the court needs to know that these illegal immigrants only use Malawi as a transit route to other nations; as such, they run away from paying money through visas which is charged at $75 per person.
“You might see here that apart from the K23 million, a lot more millions are lost in visas,” Gondwe said.
Senior Resident Magistrate Brian Sambo sentenced the three men to pay a fine of K25, 000 each or serve a 12-month custodial sentence in default.
He further ordered the State to give back the three minibuses to the owners because the drivers transported the illegal immigrants without the owners’ permission.