The revelation made by the British High Commissioner to Ghana, Jon Benjamin, that some three current Ghanaian MPs and a former lawmaker have allegedly been engaged in visa fraud is a complete waste of time, Professor Kwaku Asare, a United States-based Ghanaian professor, has said.
According to him, Mr Benjamin failed to do his work properly, hence the unfortunate situation at hand at the moment.
The three MPs cited to have engaged in the alleged fraud are 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.
The letter addressed to Prof Mike Oquaye said: “Administrative measures have been taken to ensure that the Honourable members mentioned here will most likely not be granted visas for the UK within the next 10 years. I should add that the party affiliation of these MPs is, in this context, irrelevant to us: we simply state the facts as we have discovered them.
“We are continuing to investigate whether any other current or former MPs have engaged in similar behaviour and will inform you, if we discover any further such cases.
“Furthermore, the British High Commission has information that points strongly to some of the aforementioned honourable members having used the same unofficial visa agent [also known as a ‘Goro boy’] in their applications, specifically a gentleman called Appiah. We are sure that Mr Speaker shares our view that an institution as respected and vitally important as the Ghanaian Parliament should not be a location where unregistered visa agents approach Honourable Members and act as a conduit for them to participate in visa fraud. The British High Commission will happily cooperate fully with any parliamentary and law enforcement investigation into such agents operating in the vicinity of the Ghanaian Parliament,” the letter added.
Commenting on this development on his Facebook page on Wednesday, 26 April, Prof Asare said: “Dear Jon Benjamin: Stop wasting our ears for failing to do your work. A diplomatic passport entitles the holder to use it only when traveling on official government business of the issuing country.”
“Your long-winded, hard-to-fathom letter, suggests that the impugned MPs applied for visa for private reasons and your office was derelict in its duties for allowing them to use their diplomatic passports, rather than their personal passports. Maybe if you stop meddling in trivia and pay more attention to your office, you could avoid some of these lapses. Until then, don’t waste my ears!”