IT is shocking that the Patriotic Front (PF) government has continued using law enforcing agents to victimise investors by secretly arresting and deporting them, Opposition UPND president Hakainde Hichilema has said.
But the Immigration Department Public Relations officer Namati Nshinka says the two were deported on suspicion that they were inimical to the interest of the State.
Mr. Nshinka said the department had power to deport any individual if there were any reasonable grounds to believe that such a particular individual or person was inimical to the interest of the State.
“It is the duty of the Immigration officer to apprehend and deport such an individual according to the Immigration Act section 39/2 of the laws of Zambia.
“We used the Immigration and Deportation Act number 18 of 2010 suction 39 (2) which states ‘‘If an immigration officer has reasonable grounds to believe that any person’s presence in Zambia or conduct is likely to be a danger to peace and good order in Zambia, that person shall be deported from Zambia under a warrant signed by the Minister,” he said.
But commenting on the arrest and deportation of Armcor Security Company’s managing director Jan Paxtson and his operations director Basil Mark Pietersen on Wednesday, Mr. Hichilema accused the Immigration Department of working under PF instructions to fight Armcor Security in preference for a named security company. He argued that using section 39/2 to arrest and deport an individual was not enough, adding that some Immigration Officers were now abusing the law by fabricating issues against individuals.
“For instance how inimical were Mr. Jan and Mr Basil when they have lived in this country for many years running the security company? Why has the Department continued issuing them with work permits if they are inimical to the interests of the State? This issue needs to be investigated thoroughly,” Mr. Hichilema said. Mr. Hichilema wondered why the Immigration officers who rounded up the two directors failed to explain the basis of the deportation, adding that at the time of arrest there were no deportation order from the Ministry of Home Affairs.
“The problem this country has is that the PF is using state institutions to fight people. I am aware that a few months ago Mr. Paxtson was deported to South Africa on unspecified reasons and eight months later they brought him back into the country to continue operating his company,” he said. He said with such secret arrests and deportations of investors, Zambia was at risk of losing investor confidence in the governance of the country. Mr. Hichilema said it was time the truth was told to the nation on how Mr. Paxtson and Mr. Basil came in Zambia and which security wings cleared them in order to operate the security firm.
Mr. Paxtson and Mr. Basil were both rounded up and arrested on Tuesday evening before being deported on Wednesday to South Africa. The South African government has protested the action by the Zambian government and have described the deportation as harassment of its citizens.