THREE sitting Members of Parliament (MPs) and a former MP have been cited by the British authorities for allegedly perpetrating visa fraud using their diplomatic passports.
The MPs are said to have used an unauthorised person (a goro boy) and their diplomatic passports to apply for visas for persons who travelled to the United Kingdom and did not return as stipulated by their visas, living in that country illegally.
They are MP for Bia East in the Western Region, Richard Acheampong, MP for Ntotroso in the Bono Ahafo Region, Joseph Benhazin Dahah, MP for Ahafo Ano South West in the Ashanti Region, Johnson Kwaku Adu, and former MP for Asunafo South in the Bono Ahafo Region, George Boakye.
A classified letter signed by the British High Commissioner to Ghana, Jon Benjamin, and addressed to the Speaker of Parliament, Prof. Aaron Mike Ocquaye, meticulously stated instances of abuses by the MPs in question.
The letter said: “The British High Commission considers the actions of the MPs completely unacceptable. In some cases these behaviours may arguably be criminal in nature.”
It noted that given what had transpired, the High Commission “will henceforth only entertain and prioritise requests for visas from MPs, if they are made through the parliamentary protocol office who should verify that there is an official, parliamentary reason for the proposed visit.”
The High Commission said the net effect of such visa fraud by a very few Honourable MPs as outlined in its letter is to raise the bar of suspicion against all such applicants, which is, of course, regrettable to the huge disadvantage of those very many MPs who do act ‘honourably’ at all times.
According to the British High Commissioner, the British government takes a dim view of visa fraud.
“We take the fraud case seriously, we don’t let it go,” he said.
…In doing so, we note the powerful words in your impressive inaugural address as Speaker, to the effect that, for Members of Parliament, holding a Diplomatic Passport is both a privilege and responsibility which should not be abused: and that those who abused that trust would be appropriately dealt with.
However, in a quick response the embattled MP for Asunafo South, George Boakye, rejected the case of visa fraud against him by the UK High Commission.
He said there was nothing fraudulent about his actions, explaining that the visa was legally acquired.
According to the letter, Mr. Boakye on September 11, 2012 applied for visas for himself and his 37-year-old daughter, Joyce Boakye, to visit a friend in London for 17 days which were granted September 14, 2012.
The former lawmaker on January 17, 2013 travelled to the UK with his daughter but the latter did not leave the UK with her father remaining until January 6, 2017. In other words she lived in the UK for over three years illegally.
As a result, “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,”
Admitting his daughter erred in an interview yesterday, Mr. Boakye said he accepts in good faith the disciplinary measures being taken against him by the Commission, noting that “when your son or daughter goes out and whatever he or she does and there is a credit to it you’ll take and in same vein when it is the other way you have to take it.”
…So there is nothing he can do other than beg for clemency, the former MP stated.
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