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Gov’t alert to fight citizenship fraud

Ntsoaki Motauking

The Ministry of Home Affairs says it is already on top of matters relating to misuse and abuse of national identity and travel documents which land into the wrong hands of non-Lesotho nationals who use them to advance criminal activity.

Principal Secretary (PS) Tumelo Raboletsi indicated that already there is a case before the courts of law against two people accused of forging the government’s receipts and illegally getting money from foreigners claiming they will provide them with citizenship documents.

He further indicated that amongst many cases, Home Affairs has recently received a case from South Africa where one person had requested to be given a South African citizenship claiming to be a Mosotho with Lesotho’s passport and citizenship certificate but which the Ministry of Home Affairs in Lesotho had no record of.

‘Matlotliso Thelejane from the Office of Director Immigration said there are strict measures in place that one has to undergo so that they can be eligible to apply for Lesotho citizenship.

“One has to have stayed in the country for at least five years continuously renewing their indefinite permit after every two years.”

She said there are also documents needed from the applier as well as to see what they have been doing during their time in the country also looking into what the country can benefit from them.

Thelejane said they also look at what that person brings to Lesotho that the country already does not have saying they also look at how the person will help in growing the country’s economy.

She said though some may not hold educational certificates proving that they have a skill that the country lacks, they also look at how much money the applier has.

Thelejane further noted that most of the appliers are people who are in Lesotho because of marriage.

She told this paper that since the ministry lifted the suspension of issuing of residence permits, they have only received two applications from people who are married in Lesotho.

“There has only been two applications so far but the ministry has more than 100 applications who were already in when the suspension came,” she said.

This follows revelations by the home affairs Minister Motlalentoa Letsosa that some 928 foreigners who cannot be traced after being issued Lesotho citizenship permits.

This information was acquired during an ongoing study that is being carried out by the ministry which started last year in November.

Shortly after the study, the ministry suspended issuing residence permits with immediate effect after realising that there were allegations of human trafficking in the country and illegal behavior in regard to acquiring Lesotho’s citizenship.

The statistics according to the Ministry of Home Affairs is only part of the study, granting that numbers might rise as the study continues.

The statistics further show that out of 1083 only 130 can be traced and are found in the country while 25 citizenship holders do not reside in the country and 928 are not traceable at all.

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