A former deputy Employment and Labour Relations Minister says all diplomatic passports in possession of former government appointees have been returned.
Murtala Mohammed told Dzifa Bampoh on Joy FM’s Top Story Wednesday, save former Ministers who retained their seats as Members of Parliament, all former government officials have returned their passports.
He was reacting to statements by Foreign Minister Shirley Ayorkor Botwey that government will soon revoke all diplomatic passports still in the hands of former appointees.
Related Article: Gov’t to revoke all diplomatic passports of Mahama’s appointees
Foreign Affairs Minister, Shirley Ayorkor Botwe
The government of President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo in January directed all former appointees and MPs to turn in their diplomatic passports.
This directive, according to the Foreign Affairs Minister has not been complied with by all former appointees.
She said while the majority of the former appointees have tendered in their document, a few of them are still holding on to the document.
Former President, John Mahama
The Minister told Joy News’ Evans Mensah on the sidelines of the launch of the Ghana@60 celebrations in UK, former government officials still keeping their passports risk being embarrassed.
“I don’t want a colleague just because he is a former government appointee to go through such an ordeal,” he said.
Shirley Ayorkor Botchwey said government is taking this step to reduce the abuse in the use of the diplomatic passport.
Already, some three sitting MPs and a former MP have been cited for visa fraud by the British High Commission.
British High Commissioner, Jon Benjamin
They include MP for Bia East Richard Acheampong, MP for Asutifi North Joseph Benhazin Dahah, MP for Ahafo Ano South West Johnson Kwaku Adu, and former MP for Asunafo South George Boakye.
The revelation was made by the British High Commissioner, Jon Benjamin in a letter written to Speaker of Parliament, Professor Mike Aaron Ocquay in January.
Some of the MPs have initiated formal procedures to have their names cleared by the UK High Commission.
Kwabena Asare Atuah who is the lawyer for the former Asunafo South MP George Boakye, said his client did not engage in visa fraud as the Commission had alleged.
“What act of his constituted fraud?” he quizzed, adding he is satisfied has not been banned as was claimed in the media.
Mr Asare Atuah quoted a May 4 letter he received from the UK High Commission which said his client is “unlikely” to be granted a UK visa for the next 10 years.
“He is not under any travel ban…we will make this available to the Foreign Affairs Minister, and the Majority leader, Osei Kyei Mensah Bonsu,” he said.
Former deputy Education Minister, Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa
Mr Mohammed who lost his Nantong Constituency seat in the 2016 general elections said he returned his diplomatic passport alongside other government officials.
He cited former deputy Finance Minister, Casiel Ato Forson and former Deputy Education Minister, Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa who are still in possession of their passports because they retained their seats as MPs.
Mr Mohammed said he is unhappy with government’s attempt to bastardise former government officials by putting out one bad story after the other.
Former deputy Finance Minister, Casiel Ato Forson
“We have a lot of stories that are coming out that have to be well checked,” he said, adding governance is a serious business that the new government must respect.
He said the next story that will be circulated in the country will be about a missing government official. “They will tell us one of the 110 Ministers cannot be accounted for.”