Chairperson of the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Foreign Affairs Cde Kindness Paradza
Tinomuda Chakanyuka, Senior Reporter
ZIMBABWE will next month send a six-member delegation to engage Turkish authorities in efforts to secure the release and extradition of three Zimbabwean students who are being held in Cyprus for drug trafficking.
The three were arrested earlier this year.
Turkey controls the northern part of Cyprus where a number of Zimbabwean students are studying.
Chairperson of the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Foreign Affairs Cde Kindness Paradza told Sunday News that the six-member delegation will also meet Zimbabwean students studying in Cyprus.
Cde Paradza said the delegation will comprise members of the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Foreign Affairs and officials from the Zimbabwe Council for Higher Education (Zimche).
He said the delegation is visiting Cyprus on the back of progressive discussions with the Turkish ambassador to Zimbabwe on the release of the three students.
“We held a meeting with the Turkish Ambassador to Zimbabwe and agreed to send a delegation to engage Turkish authorities.
“The delegation comprising parliamentarians and officials from Zimche will travel to Cyprus in September,” he said.
Cde Paradza said his committee had also spoken to the lawyer representing the trio who expressed optimism at securing their release.
He said the three students, whose names he was not at liberty to reveal, were due to stand trial last week but did not as the courts in Cyprus were on recess.
“What we want is for the boys to be deported to Zimbabwe and then we take it up from there.
“They (the trio) were supposed to appear in court on 10 August but I’m told that the courts there are on recess.
“The lawyer representing them is quite optimistic that the matter will be finalised soon and the students will be deported to Zimbabwe,” said Cde Paradza.
He added that the delegation will also meet students as well as investigate how relevant the University degrees being offered in Cyprus were.
“We are going to meet all the students studying in Cyprus, first to find out their problems.
“The reason we are having Zimche officials as part of the delegation is we would want find out if the courses being offered in Cyprus are relevant to Zimbabwe and see if it still makes any sense to continue sending our students there,” he said.
Last month the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Foreign Affairs interviewed three agencies, Ruothey Edu, Global Careers and Eskard Consultancy that recruit and offer scholarships to local students to study abroad.
The meeting came in the wake of revelations that a number of Zimbabwean students studying in Cyprus were being forced into crime and prostitution after being offered fake university scholarships.
It emerged, during the meeting, that the agencies were merely registered as shelf companies and had no permission from the Government to recruit students for foreign universities.
The portfolio committee also managed to interview some Zimbabwean students studying in Cyprus who are doing their industrial attachment in Zimbabwe.
A number of locals have been falling prey to dubious agencies based in Harare who offer university scholarships to study in Cyprus with most students ending up stranded in the island country.
Majority of the desperate students reportedly end up engaging in criminal activities to survive and pay for their tuition.