The UK High Commission in Ghana must apologise to former Asunafo South MP George Boakye for accusing him of involvement in visa fraud, a group calling itself Concerned Youth of Asunafo South has said.
The group’s demand for an apology comes 24 hours after a confidential letter from the UK High Commissioner to Ghana, Mr Jon Benjamin, to Ghana’s Speaker of Parliament, Prof Mike Oquaye, leaked.
The letter outlined details of visa offences committed by Mr Boakye and three sitting MPs separately for which they have been banned from travelling to the UK for 10 years.
The others include Richard Acheampong, MP for Bia East in the Western Region; Joseph Benhazin Dahah, MP for Asutifi North (Ntotroso) in the Brong Ahafo Region; and Johnson Kwaku Adu, MP for Ahafo Ano South West in the Ashanti Region.
In the case of Mr Boakye, the UK High Commissioner said: “On 11/09/2012, the then Honourable and now former MP for Asunafo South, George BOAKYE, applied for visas for himself and his 37-year-old daughter, Joyce BOAKYE, to visit a friend in London for 17 days. The visas were granted on 14/09/2012. On 17/01/2013, Joyce BOAKYE travelled to the UK with her Honourable father. Joyce BOAKYE did not leave the UK with her father, but remained until 06/01/2017. In other words, she finally returned to Ghana just this month, having been in the UK illegally for over three years, and only then at our strong urging of Mr Boakye to bring her back. Mr Boakye is highly unlikely to be issued any further visas to visit the UK in the next ten years for his role in facilitating his daughter’s travel to the UK, including should he be re-elected to Parliament in a subsequent election.”
Reacting to the allegations, however, the pro-Boakye group said in a joint statement that the former MP cannot be held liable for the actions of her 37-year-old daughter. The group also denied claims that Mr Boakye abused his diplomatic passport insisting he used his ordinary Ghanaian passport with the number H1050729.
“With these facts, it’s mind-boggling that the High Commission has come out to say that this Honourable man has engaged in visa fraud. And for them to go a step further to say that the High Commission has banished him from entering the UK for 10 years is something that we can’t fathom and of which we are going to contest in a court of law,” the group said.
“We want the UK High Commission to come again on this issue and state the facts as they are, devoid of mischief and arbitrariness. We are looking forward to an unqualified apology and a retraction of the 10-year banishment from the High Commission.”
Below is the group’s full statement:
CONCERNED YOUTH OF ASUNAFO SOUTH
HON. GEORGE BOAKYE HAS NOT ENGAGED IN ANY FRAUDULENT ACTIVITY
We have read a supposed letter emanating from the office of the UK High Commission which was addressed to the Speaker of Parliament indicting Hon. George Boakye for visa fraud.
We were totally abashed when we read the letter and we are sorry to say that it was fraught with mischief and arbitrariness – which dents his hard-earned reputation. We are saying emphatically that Hon. George Boakye has not engaged in any fraudulent activity so far as the laws of this country and that of UK are concerned.
The facts of this misleading letter (in the case of Hon. George Boakye) are as follows:
I) Hon. George Boakye became an MP for Asunafo South from 2008-2012.
II) Hon. George Boakye went to UK with her daughter on 17th January, 2013, by then he wasn’t a Member of Parliament.
III) Hon. George Boakye didn’t use a diplomatic passport (as it is stated in the letter), but used his own Ghanaian Passport with the number H1050729.
IV) Hon. George Boakye used the appropriate and legitimate procedure to acquire the visa through the UK High Commission when traveling with her daughter.
V) The daughter of Hon. George Boakye we are talking about is 37 years of age. I repeat Joyce Boakye is 37 years of age.
VI) Hon. George Boakye returned on the stipulated time but wasn’t able to come back with his daughter for reasons they explained to the High Commission when she came back and he went to the High Commission with her.
Let’s also bear in mind a lady of 37 years of age has the right to make her own decisions. Article 14(1) E of our Constitution is explicitly clear on this. She is entitled to her own decisions and her father can’t be held legally responsible for her actions and inactions.
With these facts, it’s mind-boggling that the High Commission has come out to say that this Honourable man has engaged in visa fraud. And for them to go a step further to say that the High Commission has banished him from entering the UK for 10years is something that we can’t fathom and of which we are going to contest in a court of law.
We want the UK High Commission to come again on this issue and state the facts as they are, devoid of mischief and arbitrariness. We are looking forward to an unqualified apology and a retraction of the 10-year banishment from the High Commission.
The UK High Commission should note that it would be unacceptable on our part to sit aloof and allow them to destroy the hard-earned reputation of Hon. George Boakye when he hasn’t done anything contrary to the laws of the land.
Nana Adusei Poku
Aide of Hon. George Boakye
Ernest Opoku Gyamfi