Minister wants diplomatic passport law amended

Ms. Shirley Ayorkor Botchwey,Minister-designate for Foreign Affairs

Ms. Shirley Ayorkor Botchwey,Minister-designate for Foreign Affairs

The Minister of Foreign Affairs, Shirley Ayorkor Botchwey has suggested that the law on diplomatic passports should be amended to minimise the abuse of government travel facility to persons so prescribed by law.

Her suggestion follows visa scandals involving three sitting Members of Parliament (MP) and a former MP who used their diplomatic passport to perpetrate fraud. Mrs. Botchwey in an interview yesterday explained that the element of discretion in the law of issuing diplomatic passport creates room for abuse.

She noted that even though the MPs were granted diplomatic passports, the travel documents were not used for any official purposes.

The minister said there is a need to ‘clean up the system’ lamenting that years of abuse has affected the respect accorded diplomatic passport holders.

She could not provide immediately the number of persons holding diplomatic passports but said since the change in government most former government officials have returned their diplomatic passports.

She said the ministry would soon send a list of diplomatic passport holders to immigration points at the airport and anyone who is not on the list would not be accorded easy travel.

She said she uses her diplomatic passport only for official state assignments.

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