The Minister of Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration, Shirley Ayorkor Botchwey, says the online passport application process is being undermined by some staff at the passport office as part of a ploy to extort monies from applicants.
She said some civil servants within the passport offices were making things difficult for the Ministry to ensure sanity in the passport acquisition process.
She said some staff at the passport office work with intermediaries (goro boys) to extort monies from the passport applicants.
The Minister who was speaking during a visit to the Passport Office on Monday, expressed anger that politicians are often blamed for corruption but such things are mostly orchestrated by some civil servants.
She said all those who have been at the passport offices for more than one-year will be changed in order to break their familiarity with the corrupt system.
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Ms. Ayorkor Botchwey said there is an ongoing investigation into the activities of some staff at the passport office in Accra and that some names had already come up.
“This cannot continue. There is too much happening that shouldn’t be happening in the passport acquisition system,” she fumed.
She added, “If we talk about ‘goro people’, these goro people are outsiders. They do not work on their own because if the goro person collects somebody’s money, they need to work with somebody from inside to change the dates; this should stop,” she explained.
Ms. Ayorkor Botchwey further stressed that whenever there is corruption in the process of obtaining passport, it is the politicians and the Ministry that are blamed, saying “the blame is always on the Minister of Foreign Affairs meanwhile it is the agencies… I’m sure even some of our staff are involved.”
“Now, the online system is being manipulated. There is an investigation going on and some names have been mentioned,” she noted, adding “We want to bring some sanity.”