Thousands of ‘old Ghana Cards’ to be destroyed

Thousands of “old Ghana Cards” printed between 2008 and 2014, but not issued to Ghanaians are to be destroyed by the National Identification Authority (NIA).

According to the Authority, the 2D-barcode cards, captured in a video being circulated on social media, have outlived their 10-year life span and could not be used for any lawful purpose.

It, therefore, described as untrue claims that the cards in the video were part of the new cards issued by the Authority since 2018, but left to rot at the Sowutuom Office of NIA in Accra.

A statement issued by the Acting Head of Corporate Affairs of the Authority, DrAbudu Abdul-Ganiyu, in Accra yesterday said the cards had been audited by an NIA Board of Survey and had passed for destruction.

“For the avoidance of doubt, these 2D-Barcode cards are different from the current generation of multi-purpose, dual-interface, chip-embedded, biometric smart cards being issued by NIA since 2018,” it said.

In the 13 seconds viral video which has been in circulation on social media for some days, the cards are in many torn jute bags, popularly referred to as “Ghana must Go” bags.

One of the captions attached to the video said: “GhanaCards; we woke up in the middle of night to queue for this, we fought and insulted ourselves just to get a card, wasted our time and all ended up this way. It is like watching a horror movie. Taxpayers cry your tears.”

But according to NIA, the cards were moved from storage to create space pending their destruction as the NIA Headquarters Building undergoes refurbishment.

“The cards were covered with a tarpaulin at the NIA Headquarters premises awaiting shredding but someone removed the cover, made a video and shared it on social media,” it said.

The statement assured the general public that all the printed but unissued ultra-modern smart cards meant for Ghanaians and eligible foreigners lawfully resident in Ghana are safe in NIA’s custody.

“Such cards are batched, boxed and securely kept at the NIA Headquarters and in the respective 16 Regional and 276 District Offices of NIA, and at its Premium Registration Centres for issuance.

“As a data controller, NIA will continue to protect all personal records in its custody and ensure their safety, integrity and confidentiality at all times,” the statement said.

After some unsuccessful attempts in the past to register all Ghanaians and issue national cards to them, the NIA, in May 2017, started the National Identification System (NIS) revamping project.

It aimed to compile a national database of Ghanaians living in the country and abroad as well as legal and permanent resident non-Ghanaian nationals.

Guided by the National Identity Register (Amendment) Act, 2017 (Act 950), it has so far registered nearly 17 million while the cards are being linked to the Tax Identification  and  Social  Security numbers as well as banking systems.

BY JONATHAN DONKOR

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