Archive for Ghana
A letter intercepted by Citi News indicates that Ghanaians working in the country’s missions abroad with particular reference to the Embassy in Tokyo, Japan have not been paid for the past three months. The letter revealed that the local staff of the Ghanaian Embassy in Tokyo has called off a planned demonstration to demand payment. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration confirmed the situation, but the Deputy Minister Chris Kpodo said the Ministry is working to rectify the problem. He told Citi News in an interview that, “there has been some delay in remittances to our missions and there is no cause for alarm actually. We have a general problem and it’s affecting all missions, it’s not only Tokyo mission.”
Ambassador to Libya and his family are living in the state of fear, doubt and uncertainty as some unidentified gun men have incessantly attacked and robbed the residence of H.E Kodjo Hodari-Okae in Tripoli. The Ghana Ambassador to Libya recounted that two armed attack have been launched to his residence in the spate of two weeks. He said, in the early hours of Sunday the 35th of March 2012 he and his family woke up to realize that some people had broken into their house and made away with valuable properties belonging to both the Mission and his family. The Ghanaian diplomat said, as if that was not enough, while the police was trying to investigate the incident there was other gun attacks on the residency on the 29th March 2012. He stated that since the incident happened he had informed the Police in Tripoli and the National Transitional Council (NTC) but nothing practical had been done allay his doubt and also to guarantee their safety, though he was assured by the authorities of positioning security guards at the residency. He said all the assurances have failed to materialized. Aside the residence of the Ghana Ambassador which was attacked on two occasions, other foreign missions have been attacked including Lesotho, Kenya, Congo Brazzaville and Kinshasa respectively, and according to reports they launched a grenade attack on the Belgium Embassy. Ambassador Kodjo Hodari-Okae said, ‘’It’s difficult to tell. The situation is not something I can clearly define. Practically everyone has some kind of arms or weapon moving about with.’’ H.E Hodari Okine since the incident had moved to a hotel with his family per the advice from the Accra office, for fortitude and solace. He indicated that he had met with the foreign affairs minister of Libya over the issue and promised to ensure their safety and security, but till date he had not heard or seen any action from them.
At a time human rights have become the focus of global discussion, Ghanaians seeking visas to some countries are given hostile reception while they await their interview sessions. A visit by the Finder newspaper to a number of Embassies showed the plight of applicants. There was a lack of shelter and minimum provision of chairs. The embassies and High Commissions visited were those of theUnited States of America, the United Kingdom, Italy, Spain, France and South Africa. Most applicants The Finder met at the US Embassy were seen waiting under trees and sitting on rocks. This situation has led to an individual hiring out seats on a pay-as-you-sit basis. The individual who gave her name as Sara provided applicants with plastic chairs and charged them 60 pesewas an hour. A student-applicant who gave his name as Justice told The Finder that he arrived at the Embassy at about 10:20am but was expected to go in for his interview at 1pm. “I have paid a visa fee of US$140 and therefore expected to be served well but as you can see, I am sitting on a rock and this is where I am going to sit till 1pm; can you imagine the discomfort?” he asked. A family of four, who patronized Sara’s plastic chair services, said they agreed to pay GH¢2.40 for every hour that they sat on the chairs. They said it was their second visit to the embassy, adding that the situation was no different even in the interview area. “There is a bold inscription that reads that the room accommodates only 150 people but the last time we were there, there were not less than 300 people in there and some of us had to stand for almost three hours before getting a seat,” the family head said. At the Spanish embassy, the situation was not different as visa applicants had to queue to enter the embassy. At the French embassy, visa applicants sit outside under the barest cover and still at the mercy of the sun, a situation that cannot be said to be comfortable. Another mission that is not doing enough for its applicants is the High commission of the Republic of South Africa. Most applicants that The Finder saw were standing in the sun as they waited for their turns to pass through the gate. A visit to the visa section of the High Commission of theUnited Kingdom, one of the most patronized in the country, showed that there were enough seats for applicants, with some empty seats evident. The German embassy visa section is another place where applicants appear to be treated with dignity as they are given comfortable places to sit while waiting to enter the main visa building. Applicants appear protected from the vagaries of the weather. At the Italian embassy a make-shift shed with wooden chairs have been provided for visa applicants.
The Ghana Ambassador to France, Her Excellency Genevieve Tsegah, has come under heavy criticism by some Ghanaian workers at the Ghana Embassy, who have accused her of “fraud and maltreatment”. She has been accused of pay cuts and other forms of inhumane acts on workers at the Ghana Mission in France since she assumed office. As part of her modus operandi, she was alleged to have fired her cook and sent her back toGhana. One of the victims, her current cook on contract, Harrison Boni, has written to the Chief Director at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs here inGhanato inform Ghanaian officials of his predicament. Meanwhile,Ghana’s Ambassador to France, H. E Tsegah, declined to comment on the allegations.
The Ghana Police stationed at the Regional Police Headquarters, Accra, illegally disrupted and stopped the demonstration. The US/NATO Hands Off Libya! Hands Off Africa! The Ghana Police Service harboured ill feelings toward the demonstration with the intent of inflicting violence and bodily harm on Ghanaian citizens during the legal march. The evidence was displayed during the arrest of the demonstrators when three armoured vehicles with 20 to 30 police officers with riot gear armed with guns and tear gas guns passed by as demonstrators were being beaten, shoved to the ground, placards were roughly removed from the demonstrators hands and electric tasers were used to seize and destroy video equipment and film. The injustice of the police actions is clear, but the underlying reasons for their actions are just as revealing, so far as Ghanaian citizens constitutional rights are concerned. The Regional Commander met with US diplomats inside their embassy, who made it clear, in no uncertain terms, that they forbid any demonstrators from coming near their embassy.
Wife of ex-Ghana Ambassador toJapanis accusing her husband of ‘shameless’ infidelity and threats on her life.Mrs Brempong-Yeboah told Joy News her husband Dr. Charles Brempong-Yeboah hounded her out of her matrimonial home amidst several threats on her life. She had early on reported the matter to the Domestic Violence and Victims Support Unit (DOVVSU) fearing her husband could harm her. According to her, her husband once assaulted her but decided not to report the case to the police because of his stature and the future of their child. But after two threats on her life by him, and charges of stealing his car hanging around her neck, she decided to break her silence. Mrs Brempong-Yeboah, 36, is seeking refuge at DOVVSU, praying the police will protect her from her husband who she also accused of been unfaithful. She has vowed not to return to her marital home. She has been married for eight years. Officials of DOVVSU say it is too early to comment on the matter but said the former ambassador could not honour his invitation at DOVVSU. When contacted, he declined comment.
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.