The Parliament of Ghana has said that the sanctioning of some Members of Parliament (MP) for visa irregularities by the British government will be effected as the Speaker of Parliament, Prof Mike Oquaye, “follows due process” to resolve the issue.
Parliament’s Director of Public Affairs, Kate Addo, said the disciplinary measures “will still be in place as the Speaker of Parliament deals with the matter” by giving the opportunity to those involved to be heard.
“On a matter like this, the leadership will be involved. What I gather from the letter is that it is bringing Mr Speaker’s attention to the problems and indicating that due to A,B,C,D, as you can see in the communication, certain members will not be given visa for the next 10 years. That to me is punitive enough,” she added.
She told Joy FM on Wednesday, April 26, that the MPs involved in the irregularities were cooperating with government and the British High Commission, indicating that “one of the MPs did indicate that he was going to personally make sure that person [who had overstayed the visa in UK] returned, although the person is yet to return and in another instance the MP said he would make sure the person returned and the person returned this year, having gone in 2012.
Three MPs, together with a former lawmaker, have been cited in separate alleged visa offences by the UK government and a 10-year visa ban placed on them.
They include: Richard Acheampong, MP for Bia East in the Western Region; Joseph Benhazin Dahah, MP for Asutifi North (Ntotroso) in the Brong Ahafo Region; Johnson Kwaku Adu, MP for Ahafo Ano South West in the Ashanti Region; and George Boakye, former MP for Asunafo South in the Brong Ahafo Region.
A confidential letter written to the Speaker of Parliament by the UK government through the UK High Commissioner to Ghana, Mr Jon Benjamin, said the four MPs violated UK visa regulations on different occasions by either providing false information for their visa applications or facilitating the visas of some relatives who overstayed their visas in the UK.
In a separate interview with Jonas Ofori-Yeboah on Class FM’s 12 Live on Wednesday, April 16, Ms Addo further stated: “The matter will be further interrogated and the appropriate sanctions will be applied when the House returns.”