The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration (MFARI) says it is investigating allegations that some foreign nationals residing in the United Arab Emirates and other Gulf States are holding Ghanaian passports.
In a statement issued in Accra on Friday, the ministry said it would take appropriate measures to deal with the situation if found out to be true given that was an offence under Ghanaian Laws for foreign nationals to acquire Ghanaian passports.
“Individuals with credible evidence on foreign nationals in possession of our passport are to approach the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration for further action by the law enforcement agencies”, it said.
The statement said the ministry’s investigation was started after its attention was drawn to videos circulating on various social media platforms repeating the allegation.
In one of the videos sighted by the Ghanaian Times on Facebook, a woman who spoke in Twi alleged that some Nigerians in Dubai, for instance, had in their possession, Ghanaian Passports which they purportedly purchased.
She alleged that some Ghanaians abroad with the help of some officials of the passport office in Ghana were facilitating the sale of the passports in exchange for about GH¢20,000.
She further claimed that foreigners who get the passports had learned how to speak some basic sentences in Twi as proof that they are Ghanaians and they were using the identity to commit crimes.
The social media user appealed to officials in charge to curtail the practice to save the integrity of Ghana.
“It is worth emphasising that with the current biometric passports being issued by the Passport Office, applicants undergo rigorous vetting processes which make it difficult for unqualified persons, notably foreigners, to acquire Ghanaian passports,” it said.
The statement recalled that there had been a number of instances where the ministry, in collaboration with the Ghana Immigration Service and other law enforcement agencies, had apprehended some individuals for attempting to acquire Ghanaian passports.
These cases, it said, had been successfully prosecuted and appropriate sanctions have been applied to the culprits.
“The MFARI wishes to assure the general public that it would continue to adopt relevant measures in the issuance of Ghanaian passports in order to uphold and protect the integrity of the travel document,” it said.
The ministry, however, cautioned the public against unfounded claims on social media concerning foreigners acquiring Ghanaian passports.
BY JONATHAN DONKOR