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» 23.03.2010 - Rift divides Botswana's ruling party
» 23.02.2010 - Botswana and Zimbabwe irons out difference
» 09.02.2010 - Khama accused of trampling on Bushmen’s rights
» 01.02.2010 - Botswana condemns Togo suspension by CAF
» 28.01.2010 - Australia expands relations with Botswana
» 07.08.2009 - San communities in Botswana get USADF funding
» 11.12.2008 - "SADC to look for MDC military bases in Botswana"
» 21.10.2008 - South Africa and Botswana discuss military cooperation

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Botswana passports could be at risk

afrol News, 16 February - Botswana government is considering harsh penalties for the stolen or lost passports. The stringent measure, follows the British government announcement just a week ago to impose visa requirements in many southern African states including Botswana. But the government has appealed to the British government not to impose visa requirements on Batswana.

British government decided to give Botswana a six months grace period, in which the citizens will require visa to Britain. According to the Home affairs officials, this is a temporary measure which will last for only six months.

The British government recently warned that Botswana citizens will need visas to visit the United Kingdom, unless the Botswana government significantly reduces fraudulent and forged passports.

The government said the rule on Botswana passports could increase loses with criminal targeting passports to get to the United Kingdom after British government having imposed visas in other Southern African states due to high crime rate.

According to the Permanent Secretary of Labour and Home Affairs, Segakweng Tsiane, Botswana passports will be on the spot light again following the British announcement on visa rules.

Botswana which has been battling passport forgery, has recently introduced electronic passports to reduce forgery and fraud. However, a number of foreign nationals have recently been arrested around the world traveling on forged or stolen Botswana passports.

She said the Botswana government received the British envoy last year to check how the passports are being issued. "After the visit, the envoy advised the ministry on how to improve the security of Botswana passports to make it more difficult for criminals to forge or temper with them," she said.

She said her ministry is ensuring that the new designed passport that is machine readable, computerised and is expected to cost government huge amounts of money will be produced on time.

Ms Tsiane said since the introduction of penalties amounting to P1 000 (US$ 126) on those who had lost their passports, the number of passports reported lost or stolen dropped and they are receiving a good number of lost and found passports.

"This is very encouraging and shows that Batswana are now taking care of their passports," she said.

Botswana is listed among the top 11 countries which include among other southern African states, Namibia, South Africa, Lesotho, Mauritius, Swaziland that have been warned to address crime or face tough rules in accessing the UK.

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