Archive for Ghana
Ghanaians abroad who have applied for dual citizenship are said to be losing their hard-earned cash to the country’s embassies without any returns. Member of Parliament (MP) for Manhyia, Dr. Matthew Opoku Prempeh informed Parliament he had received complaints from Ghanaians inLondonthat they had paid £120 as processing fee per person to the country’s embassy in United Kingdom (UK) to acquire dual citizenship for their children but the requests had been refused. According to him, after paying the various sums of money, embassy officials indicated they had received a directive from the Ministry of Interior not to grant dual citizenship to the applicants. Dr. Opoku Prempeh noted that what added insult to injury was that the embassy failed to refund the monies to the applicants, leaving them in double agony. Consequently, the lawmaker quizzed the Minister of Interior, Dr. Benjamin Kunbuor, to comment on the damning case of possible fraud carried out by theGhanaembassy inUKbut the Minister indicated he needed time to investigate the matter before reporting back to the Parliament.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration on Thursday said Ghana’s Embassy in Abidjan had not been closed down although non-essential staff had been evacuated. In a statement issued inAccra, it said due to the fast deteriorating security situation inCote d’Ivoire, particularly inAbidjan, the government, in accord with other diplomatic missions, finds it necessary to evacuate non-essential staff of the Embassy and to operate with only a minimal staff suited to performing the special duties required of theMissionat this time”. The Ministry said the security situation in Abidjan, the main city in Cote d’Ivoire, was under constant review and as soon as there was an improvement, staff of the Embassy who were evacuated would return to Abidjan to resume their functions.
The entire staff of Ghana’s embassy in Abidjan, including the ambassador, Col E K T Donkor (rtd), have been evacuated to Ghanaand the mission closed down. This evacuation, according to embassy sources, was forced by perceived or real threats to the lives of the staff of the embassy after Laurent Gbagbo’s arrest and Alassane Ouattara taking full charge as the legitimately elected president of Cote d’Ivoire. Over 1.5 millions Ghanaians are estimated to be domiciled in Cote d’Ivoire and fears of reprisals have gripped them as many Ivorians see Gbagbo’s international friends, particularly President Mills, as the ones who fed fuel to Gbagbo’s deadly intransigence and recalcitrance which sent the country back into a civil war until a UN and French-backed military intervention led to Gbagbo’s arrest on April 11. Sources at the Foreign Affairs Ministry in Accra say the ambassador and the last of his team were flown out secretly fromAbidjanMonday night toAccraon board Ghana’s presidential jet. A diplomatic source in Abidjan described the decision byAccrato evacuate its staff as “strange and paradoxical and probably fed by paranoia and guilt.” Ironically, the decision by President Mills to recallGhana’s ambassador comes at a time when efforts are being made to returnAbidjanand other parts of the country to normalcy.
Sixty pieces of Ghanaian passports and undisclosed amount of money belonging to the Ghana nationals in Libya have gone missing at the Ghana Embassy in Tripoli. Two of the missing passports were found with a Nigerian and Ghanaian in Libya. The passports were sent to the embassy to be given to Ghanaians living in Libya after the capturing machine to be used by the Foreign Affairs Ministry to capture photographs of Ghanaians residents in Libya developed a fault and had to be returned to Ghana. Further, the source claimed that thousands of dollars saved by Ghana nationals under one Mr. Alhassan at the Ghana embassy in Libya is missing, as the Ghanaian residents are said to be suffering in silence. The $50 fees received from the processing of Traveling Certificate (TC) which helps Ghanaian residents without passport to travel from Libya to Ghana are sometimes issued without receipts. These fees were diverted into the personal account of some officials at the embassy.
Ghana’s ambassador to Brazil, Samuel Kofi Dadey, 59, paid R$45,000 to a former employee to stop, via the settlement, a lawsuit in which he was accused of sexual harassment. The case involves allegations of sex, threats, dismissal and an unusual ingredient: the immunity from prosecution of the accused, him being a diplomatic representative of another country. Helen Adewonuola, a Nigerian naturalized Brazilian, 40, who was Mr. Dadey’s secretary until July, accused her boss of threatening to fire her if she did not accept to have sex with him. She said she caved in to pressure and had sex with the ambassador four times. In January of the following year, Adewonuola made the first formal complaint to the Civil Police of the Federal District. A year later, in 2010, the employee filed a court action for damages. The criminal complaint was withdrawn in February 2009 after a conversation between Adewonuola’s husband and the Ghanaian Ambassador. The civil suit was finalized last month, after an agreement in which the ambassador agreed to pay R$45,000. Even after going to the police and instituting civil proceedings, Adewonuola was kept on as an official of the embassy. She was only fired in July after she reported the incident and reporters sought out the Ambassador to obtain his opinion regarding the case. According to Mr. Dadey, until then the employee had not “tried to ruin the” image of their country. The change in the employee’s attitude, he said, forced him to fire her. The ambassador denies having had any extra official relationships with her. The former official of the embassy says she succumbed to the onslaughts of the ambassador for fear of losing her job during a very difficult period in her life. “My husband was unemployed and my youngest son was 4 months old,” she says. Ambassadors have civil and criminal immunity, according to international treaties incorporated by Brazil. But According to the STF (Supreme Federal Court), all states may be sued in court for labor issues. Ambassador Samuel Kofi Dadey said he “never had sex with the former employee or any form of relationship that was not strictly related to work”. According to Dadey, the complaints of harassment are a reaction to the fact that the employee’s functions were changed after some wrong attitude on her part. He also says that in June 2009, she returned from vacation four days late without any communication. Dadey’s attorney said he had nothing to declare.
Despite the recent bad press generated by Mr. Linus Attarah’s trouble with his visa application at the Ghana Embassy in Denmark and the counterclaim in a press release from the embassy professing no wrong, it appear Ghana’s diplomatic office in Copenhagen is indeed a messy Nordic outpost. The Embassy has posted on its website that : “According to the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) All hand written passports will not be valid for travel after 31st march 2010.” The embassy is claiming this is because Ghana, in conformity with ICAO launched biometric passports on March 23, 2010. Then in a style reminiscent of a military government announcement, the statement adds: “All holders of hand written Ghanaian passports are advised not to panic but contact the mission immediately.” On seeing this announcement while sitting in my office in Toronto, I called the Ghana High Commission in Ottawa and got an official who readily clarified that handwritten passports are valid for the next five year. The Ghana Embassy in Copenhagen should withdraw this misleading notice on its website and apologize to Ghanaians for doing a poor job representing us abroad.
We wish to react to the “GHANA EMBASSY IN COPENHAGEN NEEDS A FACE LIFT” publication which appeared on Ghanaweb on 23rd March, 2010. The visa section accepts cheques and cash for the payment of visa fees. It is therefore not correct that the Embassy accepts only cash for its transactions. Visa applicants outside Denmark pay their visa fees by cheque, the banks charge DKK100 to clear each cheque and the Embassy also charges DKK100 for registered mail to return passports to visa applicants. What this means is that a visa applicant outside Denmark needs to send a cheque of DKK500 for single visa or DKK 650 for multiple visa. In the event of the applicant requesting for express service then an extra DKK200 is added. The writer of the article would have helped the general public and done a great service to the Embassy if the name of the so called friend who paid for multiple visa and was given single visa was made available to enable the Embassy publish the details of the visa application and fees paid. Since the person did not provide his/her name we are unable to verify the claims. But we can assure the writer and the general public that it is not possible for an applicant to pay for multiple visa and then be issued with a single visa. The staff of the Embassy are up to their tasks to help our compatriots and uplift the image of Ghana.
Ghana has opened a new Honorary Consulate Office in Glasgow, the capital of Scotland to facilitate visa and consular functions, among others in the area. Ghana’s Honorary Consul is one of the few by African High Commissions in Scotland. Currently it is estimated that about 4,000 Ghanaians reside in the Glasgow area alone.