IT APPEARS that the UK visa fraud allegation made against three sitting Ghanaian parliamentarians and one former Member of Parliament (MP), will end up in court.
This is because one of them, George Boakye – former MP of Asunafo South in the Brong-Ahafo Region – who is very unhappy with the allegation leveled against him by the British High Commissioner to Ghana, Jon Benjamin, has engaged the services of a lawyer who has written officially to the UK High Commission in Accra to express his (George Boakye’s) misgiving about the matter.
The British High Commission in Ghana has raised an alarm on three Ghanaian parliamentarians and George Boakye for allegedly flouting UK visa regulations in a manner the Commission says could “arguably be criminal in nature.”
News of the diplomatic embarrassment broke in Accra on Wednesday, April 26, this year, when a confidential letter of complaint authored by Mr Jon Benjamin and addressed to the Speaker of Ghana’s Parliament, Prof Mike Oquaye, leaked to the local media.
In the said leaked letter, the UK High Commission complained that Richard Acheampong, MP for Bia East in the Western Region; Joseph Benhazin Dahah, MP for Ntotroso in the Brong-Ahafo Region; Johnson Kwaku Adu, MP for Ahafo Ano South-West in the Ashanti Region and George Boakye, former MP for Asunafo South in the Brong-Ahafo Region, used their diplomatic passports to apply for visas for persons close to them who travelled to the UK and never returned.
But in a letter addressed to the British High Commission on his behalf by Lawyer Kwabena Asare Attah from the Henewaa Chambers, Mr. Boakye denied engaging in any visa fraud.
“My client has not engaged in any visa fraud. All documents presented by my client were genuine and he made the application directly to the UK Commission and not through any supposed third party. He has not abused the privileges of a Diplomatic Passport Holder,” the letter indicated.
According to the lawyer, contrary to the claim by the British High Commission that Mr George Boakye had traveled to the UK during the period under review with a Diplomatic Passport, he (Boakye) actually got the visa using an ordinary passport and traveled on that same passport.
The former MP strongly argues that it is misleading and unfair to accuse him of abusing his diplomatic immunity when in actual fact, he traveled to the UK as a ‘normal man.’
“In respect of the period in question, my client travelled to the UK with a normal Ghanaian Passport with number H1050729 and not a diplomatic passport,” Mr Kwabena Asare Attah pointed out.
He argued on behalf of the former MP in the letter that “The purpose of the visit to the UK by his client and his (client’s) 37-year-old daughter was a private one. My client returned as scheduled. His daughter, Joyce Boakye, who is an adult, failed to return as scheduled. My client cannot in any way be blamed because his daughter overstayed her Entry Permit into the UK.
Meanwhile, Joyce Boakye has told journalists that she is the one to be blamed for her father’s woes.
Narrating what led to her overstaying in the UK, Ms. Boakye said, “I went with my father. And I told him I was leaving for town, but I never returned, that is why I overstayed.”
She was quoted by Citi fm as saying, “I told him I will return, but I met my boyfriend in town and I departed for his house. I switched off my phone and removed my sim card so that when my father attempts to reach me on phone, he will be unsuccessful. That’s why I didn’t come with my father.”
She added, “I don’t call my father, and I don’t know how he got my number. But I kept calling mum though. There is no network where my mother lives and so she has to leave her house before we can talk.”
BY Melvin Tarlue