Chinese working on HANSOL mines don’t have permits – GIS insists

Business News of Thursday, 4 April 2013

Source: Joy Online

Bosiako

The Ghana Immigration Service (GIS) has disputed claims by Chief Executive of HANSOL Mining Ltd, Mr Bernard Antwi-Boasiako that the several Chinese arrested on his mines have legal permits.

GIS has therefore challenged Mr. Bernard Antwi-Boasiako to provide original copies of Work Permit or Immigrant Quotas issued to him, as proof of his claim.

The company applied to the Ministry of Interior in 2010 for an Immigration Quota for 30 expatriate workers, but was granted only ten.

HANSOL was therefore given forms to fill in the particulars of the intending expatriates. The filled out forms together with copies of Certificates/Diplomas for the applicants were to be forwarded to the Ministry of Interior for approval before they assumed duty.

However, according to a press release by the Ghana Immigration Service, signed by Head of Public Affairs Francis Palmdeti, Wednesday, HANSOL disregarded the directive and went ahead to hire the expatriates to work on its mining company.

“We are also aware that HANSOL applied to the Ministry of Interior for an Immigration Quota in 2010 for 30 expatriate workers. The Ministry of Interior granted them only ten [10] quotas and they [HANSOL] have not as yet provided the names of persons to fill the relevant quotas nor filled the necessary vetting forms. They have therefore not met the pre-conditions.”

Over 100 Chinese nationals were arrested about a fortnight ago for engaging in illegal small scale mining in separate operations.

Out of the 98 passports which were retrieved from them, 43 of them had residence permits endorsed in them “purported to have been issued by the GIS”,the release said.

“However, our investigations have established that some of these residence permits were either fraudulently acquired i.e without requisite quota/work permit or fake,” it pointed out.

Below is the GIS Press Release

It has come to the attention of the Ghana Immigration Service [GIS) that a group calling itself Mass Action Committee (MAC) called a press conference attacking the reputation and personality of the Ag. Director of Immigration [COP Dr P.A. Wiredu]. Similarly, one Mr Bernard Antwi-Boasiako, MD of Hansol Mining Ltd is said to have also accused the officers of the GIS who conducted the operations on foreigners engaging in illegal mining of theft and vandalisation of his property. The GIS wishes to set the records straight.

1. RECRUITMENT There is currently no illegal recruitment going on within the GIS. The Service and the Director for that matter, cannot go ahead without due approval to undertake any kind of recruitment exercise.

There are procedures which the institution follows when it intends to recruit personnel and the GIS has not flouted its own procedures. What is currently going on is the conduct of medical examination for Bandsmen/Women, Sportsmen/Women and Drivers who were duly selected and processed last year and who are due for training. The recruitment of such persons had received the consideration and blessing of both the GIS Board and Management.

The Service also advertised for graduate professionals on the 31st of October, 2012 in the Dailies [“Ghanaian Times” and “The Daily Graphic”] and the process of selection is ongoing. There are also some serving Senior Inspectors who are on standby to go with the professionals being recruited to the Immigration Academy.

It is therefore untrue that clandestine moves are being made to recruit personnel into the GIS illegally.

2. CHINESE It is unfortunate that the GIS in its quest to enforce its laws would be accused of rather “cleaning her dirty acts”. The GIS, though under serious logistical constraints, has acted very professionally in the discharge of its mandate and would continue to do so. There is currently no embargo with the issuance of Entry Visas on any particular country or nationality and therefore the GIS cannot unilaterally refuse to issue visas to foreigners who apply and meet the legal requirements.

However, if after visas have been issued and an individual arrives in the country and break the law, the GIS would deal with the matter according to the law. This is normal best practice in other jurisdictions, including the developed world. It is important to note that, Residence Permits have been issued to over 3000 Chinese nationals operating legitimately in the following sectors of our economy: Transport, Telecom, Sports, Manufacturing, Health, Engineering, Energy, Education, Consultancy, Construction, Agric etc. It is therefore not true that the GIS is arresting foreigners or Chinese for that matter, in spite of the fact that they have valid permits.

The actions of the GIS cannot be hindered by individuals/institutions that have been affected by the ongoing exercise for flouting immigration regulations. The GIS therefore wishes to assure the good people of Ghana that it would not allow Ghana to be a place where foreigners can come in to flout our laws with impunity.

3. HANSOL The officers of the Enforcement Unit of the GIS between the 18th – 22nd of March, 2013 undertook exercises in the Central and Western Regions. The operation was professionally carried out and the Service has a video footage of what transpired during the operation. At no stage of the operations did our officers, who were thirteen [13] in number rob or vandalize any property. We call on HANSOL MINING LTD [HANSOL] to provide evidence that GIS officers stole, and vandalized their properties. This story is a blatant untruth and should be ignored.

HANSOL, the GIS is aware, is listed by the Minerals Commission as one of the registered support service companies in Ghana. However, for it to benefit from some of the incentives offered by the Minerals Commission, i.e the recruitment of appropriate number of expatriates, they still would have to apply to the Minerals Commission who after vetting would write a letter of recommendation to the GIS. It is on that basis that the GIS would recommend for the issuance of work permits and subsequently grant them residence permits. HANSOL hasn’t done any of these at the time of this release.

We are also aware that HANSOL applied to the Ministry of Interior for an Immigration Quota in 2010 for 30 expatriate workers. The Ministry of Interior granted them only ten [10] quotas and they have not as yet provided the names of persons to fill the relevant quotas or filled the necessary vetting forms. They have therefore not met the pre-conditions.

Available records in our possession indicate that the last records of any form of work/residence permit issued to HANSOL was granted in 2008, at that time COP Dr P.A. Wiredu had not assumed office as the Ag. Director of Immigration. It must be noted that, at no time has Dr. Wiredu granted or endorsed any work or residence permit to HANSOL Mining Ltd. We therefore wish to request Mr. Bernard Antwi-Boasiako to provide original copies of Work Permit or Immigrant Quotas issued to him, as proof of his claim.

We also are aware that, Mr. Antwi-Baosiako is in association with two other companies: AKOSOWOMO Co. LTD and MY LOVE CO. LTD whose workers were also held by us and have been granted bail.

It must be explained that following the operations carried out by the GIS in the Western and Central Regions, a total of 60 Chinese nationals were arrested. The Military, on the other hand arrested a total of 78 Chinese, but out of that number, only 98 passports were retrieved, 43 of the passports had residence permits endorsed in them purported to have been issued by the GIS. However, our investigations have established that some of these residence permits were either fraudulently acquired i.e without requisite quota/work permit or fake.

The GIS as a statutory body responsible for immigration in the country will endeavour to uphold the tenets of the immigration profession. The general public is implored to assist the Service to ensure that this country remains conducive to all residents. It is important that individuals and institutions do not engage in activities that undermine our mandated role.

SGND: ACOI FRANCIS PALMDETI HEAD OF PUBLIC AFFAIRS – GIS

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