Registrar-General, Mr. Tobaiwa Mudede says the departmentâ€™s security officers, together with the ZRP have arrested 12 touts who have been charging people for queue jumping during and outside working hours of the passport office.
Addressing journalists in the capital , RG Mudede said the ZRP who are alleged to be involved in scandalous deals at the passport office are in fact helping the departmentâ€™s security officers when the need arises.
Mr. Mudede explained that the meandering queues at the passport office in Harare is a result of the slashing of passport fees from over US$100 to US$50. This influx was long anticipated by the co-ministers of home affairs when the fees were revised a few months ago.
Â He said the problem of long queues has also been exacerbated by the shortage of staff in the department which has some 340 vacancies.
Â The department is appealing to some applicants to approach their provincial offices in order to reduce congestion at the Harare offices.
The department currently prints plus or minus 900 passports a day.
Mr Mudede also put the record straight regarding the charges for the various categories of passports, namely ordinary passports US$50, express 1 day passports US$ 315Â and urgent passports forÂ 3 days US$250.
The passport fees for the various categories are approved by cabinet through the chief secretary to the president and cabinet.
The statement by the registrar general comes amid media reports alleging scandals and corruption issues at the registrar-generalâ€™s office in the issuance of passports.
In another development where a deputy minister is said to have visited the the RGâ€™s premises at 3am and 4 am purportedly to investigate the goings on at the passport office, some onlookers believe the move was politically motivated.
Â They are questioning why a deputy minister of transport would be keen to investigate the passport office when his own ministry has many unresolved issues.
The onlookers say the deputy ministerâ€™s mission at the premises was aimed at discrediting the office of the registrar-general in view of the pending referendum and the elections that are planned for next year.
Another observer also says issues affecting the passport office are best solved by the relevant ministry and department and not through the media.