The Consumer Protection Agency (CPA) is calling on President Nana Akufo-Addo to take steps to ensure that “unfair” treatment meted out to Ghanaians who wish to travel to the UK ends.
The Executive Director of the Consumer Protection Agency (CPA), Kofi Kapito, argued that the British High Commission was not refunding applicants’ fees when they are given a lesser duration visa type other than what they applied and paid for.
Mr Kapito cited an example of applicants paying for a two-year visa but getting a six months’ visa yet “you are not given a refund of the visa type you paid for”.
He stated: “In any transactions of commerce, this is clearly considered as fraud. The British High Commission has found a convenient way of ripping unsuspecting and voiceless Ghanaians of their hard earned money.”
This was contained in a press release on Wednesday, May 17 that catalogued several other inconveniences and frustrations of Ghanaian travellers.
Mr Kapito hinted that a demonstration would soon be organised to put pressure on the British High Commission to change its operational standards if the several petitions are not addressed.
Below is the full statement:
UNFAIR TREATMENT TO GHANAIAN TRAVELERS BY BRITISH HIGH COMMISSION IN GHANA
The Consumer Protection Agency of Ghana is grateful to H.E President Nana Akufo-Addo for suggesting to British Airways to upgrade the quality of service for passengers leaving Accra to London at Heathrow Airport terminal 3 instead of Terminal 5 which is more convenient.
Currently, passengers travelling across the Atlantic Ocean find it challenging to connect to other flights because of the long walk between terminals which makes some passengers miss their flights altogether.
Ghana as a member of the commonwealth does not seems to enjoy any balanced visa acquisition. Ghanaians used to travel to the United Kingdom and get visa on arrival as a member of the commonwealth. In most recent past, travelers were simply told to present documents to be interviewed by the consulate after the review qualified applicants are asked to pay their visa fees.
A later review of the visa acquisition process by the British High Commission introduced the submission of documents without being interviewed by the Consular, and then came the introduction of paying visa fees at a chosen bank (Barclays and Standard Charted Bank).
Currently, the system of payment is only by a Visa or Debit Card. Ghana is a country that has is 99.9% cash society of which the British Government knows too well, therefore the directive is discriminatory and unfair.
Even in the United States of America where there is a sophisticated e-commerce environment, users have a variety of payment options which cash is among. This mode of payment has created a number of loopholes and has fostered a black market.
Another grossly unfair practice by the British High Commission is not refunding applicants fees when they are given a lesser duration visa type than what they applied and paid for, a typical example is paying for a two year visa but getting a six months visa yet you are not given a refund of the visa type you paid for.
In any transactions of commerce, this is clearly considered as Fraud. The British high commission has found a convenient way of ripping unsuspecting and voiceless Ghanaians of their hard earned money.
The British High Commission has two of the largest properties in Ghana located at Ridge, these properties are sizable enough to have an in-house visa processing team. However, they currently outsource all visa processing to a private company that resides in one of the most expensive real estate in the country which is the Movenpick Hotel.
These agents ironically behave like the British high commission itself with poor customer relations to applicants.
If the High Commission has no need for those huge buildings at ridge to process their visa then they should give the land back to the Government of Ghana.
Lastly, the CPA is also informed of the new practice where applicant’s documents are sent all the way to the UK for approval. The CPA would like to know if documents sent to the UK for approval also includes applicant’s passport, if so the Government of Ghana should intervene because there is no way they can take your passports out of the country without your knowledge which breaches simple diplomatic rights and international courtesies.
Sir, The C.P.A on two occasions wrote to the previous government for a solution of this matter and therefore this makes it the third.
We are contemplating hitting the streets on a mass protest against the British High Commission if these concerns are not addressed in the shortest possible time, however out of respect to your good office we will hold on to our protest and request for a meeting with you to seek an amicable solution to this matter.
Thank you so much for your co-operation.