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Thanbyuzayat Immigration Department accused of corruption

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Several local residents have accused the Thanbyuzayat Township Immigration Department of corruption in the form of asking for or accepting bribes in exchange for expediting the application process.

In one case, a local resident applying for a new household document said she was asked to contribute to a fund for the Immigration Department. When she asked how much she had to pay, the staff replied that the amount was up to her. However, when the applicant pressed for the exact amount, the staff raised her hand holding up five fingers, indicating the applicant had to pay 5,000 kyat (US $3.66) extra for her document.

Reports of bribery are not limited to persons applying for new household documents, but extend to those applying for ID cards as well.

In another case, a villager who had just returned from Thailand had negotiated with immigration officials to pay 30,000 kyat (US $21.94) to get his ID card as he needed the document urgently. The elder brother of the applicant said that after agreeing to pay the money, his younger brother received his ID card two days later.

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One Thanbyuzayat Township resident informed HURFOM that the duration for receiving your ID card after applying is dependent on how much money the applicant is willing to pay. If the applicant can pay 10,000 kyat (US $7.32), they will get their ID card within a week. The applicant who pays 20,000 kyat (US $14.64) can get the ID card within four or five days. The person who can pay 30,000 kyat needs only to wait for one or two days.

However, another local resident said that he had to pay nothing while updating his household document. He had to wait for four days to get his document, but he said if an applicant has applied for their document in person with complete and detailed information, it will take just two days to get the document.

“The ID applicants want to get their card quickly so they bribe the staff. The duration of the process for an ID card is dependent on the number of applicants. But the applicants don’t want to wait their turn and bribe the staff to get their cards first. The staff should stop the applicants from bribing them and urge them to patiently wait for their turn, but they don’t. So corruption still exists in the Immigration Department,” said a Thanbyuzayat Township resident.

According to Mehm Chan Mon, another local resident, it should cost only 2,000-3,000 kyat (US $1.46 – $2.19) for ID photos and 1,000 kyat (US $0.73) for the office forms. He said that when he applied, the Thanbyuzayat Immigration Department requested that he provide two witnesses and a recommendation from the village administration. After that he had to wait two weeks to receive his ID card.

Corruption within immigration departments is not confined to Thanbyuzayat Township. “After waiting for two weeks [to receive my ID card], I went to the [Mudon Township Immigration] Department to get my ID card. After telling me to wait for a bit, the office staff said I should contribute a donation of 20,000 kyat to the department. But I didn’t have enough money and asked them to accept 10,000 kyat in donations instead. But they refused, so I had to add another 5,000 kyat. I had to pay 15,000 kyat (US $10.97) to get my ID card,” said Mi Nit of Mudon Township.

On December 14th 2016, the Ministry of Labor, Immigration, and Population confirmed that 40 officials working at Immigration Departments had been prosecuted for corruption.

This news story is reported by Human Rights Foundation of Monland (HURFOM)

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