You are currently viewing CBZ e-passport deal under scrutiny

CBZ e-passport deal under scrutiny

A legal requirement authorising CBZ to collect US$20 application fee on each e-passport produced, has drawn the ire of the Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR) who have raised objection over the bank’s monopoly.

Government recently gazetted e-Passport Production project, under Statutory Instrument 273 of 2021.

“In terms of the aforesaid regulations, we note that CBZ bank is charged with the processing of all applications at an additional cost of a US$20 fee. In the interest of public accountability and transparency, we kindly request to be provided with the procedures and criterion used to designate CBZ bank as the entity to be processing e-passports,” the lawyers said.

Businessman Kudakwashe Tagwirei reportedly owns a 30% stake in CBZ Holdings.

ZLHR argued that Kazembe’s decision to phase out current passports was grossly unreasonable, unfair to passport holders and in violation of the Citizenship of Zimbabwe Act.

Zimbabweans have been given up to end of December 2023 to move onto the e-passport at which time the current passport will no longer be recognized internationally.

“The enabling Act of Parliament being the Citizenship of Zimbabwe Act does not give you the powers to promulgate regulations regulating the issuance, phasing out of passports and the stipulation of passports fees,” the lawyers said.

“The enabling Act gives power to the Minister of Home Affairs to promulgate regulations dealing solely with citizenship and matters in relation to which you may regulate in terms of the Act are specified in Section 22 of the Act and you are empowered to promulgate regulations dealing with the issuance of passports. Consequently, it is our respectful view that by promulgating the Citizenship (passport fees) regulations you acted ultra vires the powers conferred on yourself by the Citizen of Zimbabwe Act.”

Government spokesperson Nick Mangwana downplayed the benefit to CBZ in the e-passport program.

“Government banks with the CBZ Holdings and has done so from time immemorial. It now says those who want to pay for the passport please do so at our bank. But some gutter tabloid screams, “ED ALLY CLINCHES PASSPORT DEAL” for that! Surely, critical thinking doesn’t live here anymore,” said Mangwana.