Several people met in front of the General Commissioner for Migration in Bujumbura do not hide it, they deplore a certain corruption in the process of obtaining travel documents. These people are calling for more transparency.
“This is the third time I have come here to look for a passport. Today, I am told to come back tomorrow. Others arrive and enter directly. It smacks of corruption. What injustice! “, deplores with bitterness a woman met in front of the offices of the General Commissioner for Migration with a passport application form in her hands.
At 10 a.m. on June 6, the queue outside the doors of the said police station continues to grow. People are waiting for passport application forms to be granted. “We will give you the forms and you go home. You will come back tomorrow with these forms, ”communicates a policeman.
Suddenly, a mess begins in front of the door. People approach the police to explain their concerns or to ask for exemptions.
Some passport applicants speak of “non-transparency”. For them, distributing forms to return the next day is only a strategy to favor certain applicants for travel documents who will pay bribes.
“I have just paid 20 thousand BIF so that my brother can go through the door, after having received a form”, indicates a resident of Kamenge. He is delighted with the “intervention of his friend”, a policeman from the police station.
Another person approached confides that it is difficult to obtain a document without giving a little money to a policeman at the police station. Yesterday, he reveals, I paid 10 thousand BIF to obtain the passport application form. “Fortunately a friend of the police intervened, otherwise I would have paid more”.
He castigates commissionaires among the police. And to call on the General Commissioner for Migration to take action against these “lost sheep”.
On the other side, a woman with a passport in her hands breathes a sigh of relief: “I finally got my passport. I ordered it last week. Nobody really asked me to pay anything in exchange for a certain favour”.
Pass seekers in disarray
Passport applicants aren’t the only ones having to wait. The granting of CEPGL passes and cards (Economic Community of the Great Lakes Countries) is also subject to irregularities. Some claimants also report bribes.
On June 6, applicants for these documents were not welcomed at the General Commissioner for Migration. “Those looking for CEPGL passes and cards must go home. They will see the press release from the police station in the coming days, ”communicates a police officer.
A disappointment for this resident of the province of Bujumbura working in the Democratic Republic of Congo. He does not believe the police communication: “My CEPGL card expires in four days. I have to go back to the DRC, but I’m stuck. My friend got it last week after paying a sum of 170 thousand BIF instead of the officially known 18 thousand BIF”.
Same story with a young inhabitant of the Kanyosha zone in Muha commune. According to him, one must have an acquaintance at the police station to obtain a pass.
A police source denies any corruption or injustice in the granting of travel documents. “People are trying to go through illegal channels to receive travel documents, but we are there to ensure order and transparency. These are the same people who accuse us of all evil to tarnish the image of the police”.
On May 5 , the Commissioner General for Migration, Maurice Mbonimpa, asked the population to denounce the commissionaires and those who ask for bribes to obtain travel documents.
Source: IWACU Burundi