The visa fraud scandal involving three sitting lawmakers and a former one in Ghana’s parliament is disappointing, the Minister for Parliamentary Affairs, Osei Kyei Mensah-Bonsu has stated.
Richard Acheampong, NDC MP for Bia East in the Western region (NDC), Joseph Benhazin Dahah, NPP MP for Ntotroso in the Bono Ahafo region, Johnson Kwaku Adu, NPP MP for Ahafo Ano South West in the Ashanti region and George Boakye, former MP for Asunafo South in the Bono Ahafo region have been blacklisted by the British High Commission in Ghana for breaching immigration rules.
The four used their diplomatic passports to apply for visas for persons travelling to the UK and never returned.
Commenting Wednesday on the development, Mr. Mensah Bonsu said the UK High Commissioner, Jon Benjamin, alerted him about the conduct of the four, including the former Member of Parliament (MP) for Asunafo South George Boakye who admitted violating UK visa policies during an interview on Morning Starr with Francis Abban.
“I must say that I am a bit disappointed about the turn of events,” Mr. Mensah Bonsu told Naa Dedei Tettey on Starr Midday News Wednesday.
The British High Commissioner in a letter dated January 20, 2017 to the speaker of parliament Mike Oquaye said: “The British High Commission considers the actions [of the MPs] completely unacceptable. In some cases these behaviours may arguably be criminal in nature.”
“We are also circulating this letter widely to other Diplomatic Missions which issue visas in Ghana in the expectation that some of them will consider similar action to ourselves against the above-named individuals,” he added.
I didn’t commit visa fraud
Reacting to the charge on Morning Starr, the Asunafo South legislator said even though he admits breaching the UK’s visa policies following his daughter’s overstay, he rejects the fraud charge leveled against him.
He said there was nothing fraudulent about his actions clarifying that he acquired the visas legally.
Mr. Boakye on September 11, 2012, according to Mr. Benjamin’s letter 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,” Mr. Benjamin’s letter to the speaker read in parts.
Threatened by a possible ban for entering the UK for 10 years, Mr. Boakye said he is prepared to beg the UK High Commission to suspend its decision to bar him from acquiring a UK visa for the stated period.
“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,” he stated.