HARARE – Top Immigration Department directors are set to be admonished by legislators after being accused of being in contempt of Parliament for refusing to give oral evidence around allegations of deep-rooted corruption, sexual harassment and abuse of office.
MP Magna Mudyiwa, who leads the parliamentary portfolio committee on Labour and Social Welfare, recommended that members of the committee “formally admonish” Immigration principal director Clemence Masango for refusing to testify in response to damning allegations presented before Parliament by his department’s employees who want the House to conduct a lifestyle audit on the top department bosses.
This will mean that the MPs will debate a motion which “formally admonishes” Masango for refusing to tender testimony.
According to the employees, Masango was known as “Mr Get Organised” in immigration circles “a statement he allegedly tells clients when he wants a bribe paid.”
Masango jointly face allegations of primitive accumulation of wealth together with Givemore Charamba, the director of operations and Steven Museki, the director administration.
According to complaints lodged before the committee by the workers, the trio “joined Immigration from the police wearing sun-scorched suits and residing at Chikurubi Police Camp, but now own mansions in Harare.”
The committee launched its investigation in response to workers’ complaints that Masango and his cabal were at the centre of corruption charges, demanding visa issuance kickbacks and sexually harassing female employees.
Masango duly arrived at Parliament to give oral evidence in the company of Museki.
As the committee sat to begin deliberations on the charges, Masango — who had not yet taken oath — immediately, raised objections.
“Under the law governing Public Service Commission, there is no workers’ representative, so who are these people (who are bringing these allegations)?” Masango queried.
The committee replied that their oversight role enabled them to summon anyone to tender evidence to help better government institutions.
But Masango continued: “These issues can best be explained by the employer which is the Public Service Commission and the head of the disciplinary committee who is the permanent secretary in the ministry (of Home Affairs).”
Museki, who had been accused of being “a serial womaniser”, quickly buttressed his boss’ point, urging the committee to dismiss their accusers concerns arguing they were no longer members of the Immigration Department after having being fired.
He added that most of their cases had been thrown out by the courts.
However, their defence only angered MPs who felt the duo were trying to pull a fast one to evade the allegations.
“Why don’t you answer the questions instead of wasting our time?” an irritated Mudyiwa said.
Their pleas were met with resistance as Masango requested for time to go and investigate the said allegations before coming back with conclusive answers.
This also did not go down well with legislators who said the Immigration Department boss had ample time since February 14 when he was invited and furnished with the nature of the allegations.
But Masango was adamant.
“I have accounted to my principal and I believe he will appear before you,” Masango said, further causing rancour.
“Now that you have failed to cooperate, thank you for coming, you can go now. We will take appropriate action,” Mudyiwa said.
Masango said “May it be noted chair that I did not refuse to cooperate.”
This drew loud interjections from the miffed legislators.
Before the tug-of-war, former and suspended Immigration Department employees had poured their hearts out to the parliamentary committee.
There were allegations of abuse of government property amid claims two water tanks donated for border posts were allegedly seized by Museki and mounted at his “two houses owned by his two wives.”
Females employed in the Immigration
Department openly shed tears as they described graphic acts of sexual harassment.
One female employee said: “On one vacation, he said ‘hey …(name withheld) do you know that when people are grown up it’s difficult to have sex.’ On another day he proposed love to me and I told him no, I am married. Since then, my life was hell. That man abused me to a point where I broke down and cried before going to work but I couldn’t quit because jobs are scarce. Now I am sacked with no warning — verbal or written. It was always his vow that I will go home.”
Another woman, who said her husband was also an immigration officer, said she was under intense pressure from Museki but continued to work in the department for fear of poverty.
“He would say ‘madam makaipa; makumbo enyu ayo.’(You have beautiful legs). On another occasion, he said ‘m***ro enyu anondi ( Your posterior) stimulator, hey your clothes are like you were born with them’.
Another time he said ‘I have a hotel booking don’t you want to come with me.’ Another time he made advances saying ‘I will promote you’ but I turned him down. It became hell for me and my husband.”