Not all passport data recovered—Minister

Not all passport data recovered—Minister

Minister of Information and Digitisation Moses Kunkuyu says not all passport data captured before the passport issuance system was hacked has been recovered.

His clarification comes after The Nation observed that since resumption of services at the Department of Immigration and Citizenship Services in Lilongwe last week, people who had previously applied and paid for their passports are being requested to fill in new forms because their data cannot be traced in the system.

Passport seekers filling application forms afresh in Lilongwe

On why the government announced that the system had been fully restored, Kunkuyu said the passport issuance process has different stages and that the data loss affected some stages.

He said: “That’s why only those whose information has been affected by the recent ‘glitch’ are being asked to fill in new application forms.

“The Department of Immigration has made this tentative arrangement to assist those whose applications may have been affected by the recent system glitches in other stages. But be assured that it is in the best interest of the government that every applicant be assisted accordingly.”

Since resumption of passport issuance, the Immigration Department offices in Lilongwe are thronged by applicants seeking to have their passport processed.

By 6 o’clock on Tuesday morning, people had already gathered outside the office premises, which open at 7.30am.

However, some applicants who submitted their forms before the passport system hack claimed that they are being asked to fill in new application forms.

One applicant, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said he arrived in Lilongwe last Thursday to follow up on his passport after the Immigration Department announced that the system had been restored and printing of passports would resume in Lilongwe.

The cross-border trader said he has already used three copies of travel documents while waiting for his passport.

He said: “To process a travel document, it costs about K24 000 plus another K2 000 to have a form containing the travel details typed and printed; another K2 000 for passport photographs; and K20 000 for the actual travel document.

“This has proven costly, especially for a small-scale business person like me. I hope I get my passport soon.”

However, the travel document fee has since been revised upward to K30 000 effective from March 15 2024 when government also announced the reduction in passport fees from K90 000 to K50 000.

People are travelling from various corners of the country, hoping to collect their passports that they applied for earlier or make fresh applications.

According to people we spoke to randomly, one fills in forms for submission  on the first dayand  returns the next day to make a payment, that is, if the queue moves fast enough.

Efforts to speak to Immigration authorities, including national spokesperson Wellington Chiponde have proved futile as calls and text messages with specific questions on these developments went unanswered.

The post Not all passport data recovered—Minister first appeared on The Nation Online.

The post Not all passport data recovered—Minister appeared first on The Nation Online.