Shirley Ayorkor Botchwey, minister of foreign affairs and regional integration, has voiced concern over ongoing extortion and corruption at the passport office.
Madam Ayorkor Botchwey has removed staff members who were seconded to the passport office of their responsibilities as a result of this.
The Minister has ordered that as of August 21, 2023, these personnel are no longer to report to work due of the changes they have undergone.
She specifically advised staff members who had been employed at the Passport Office for more than a year to take time off as part of efforts to restore normality.
“Everybody who has been here for more than one year, from Monday on, please do not come back because you have been changed. We want to restore some sanity. Every time politicians are corrupt, meanwhile, it is some public civil servants who will do things that shouldn’t be done, and then they will be put on politicians,” she directed.
This came following the Minister’s Monday visit to the passport office, during which she expressed amazement at the unjust practices that staff members there put applicants to.
She lamented the fact that the Ministry was able to digitize the passport application procedure because to the collaboration of Vice President Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia.
However, some individuals purposefully use the system to their advantage.
The Minister implied that inquiries into the illicit activity had started, and certain identities have already surfaced.
She said that she was startled by the prevalent perception that only politicians and her ministry were accountable for corruption, noting that the investigations had shown the existence of a network that collaborated with Passport Office personnel.
“It is disheartening that while blame is often laid at the feet of politicians, it is, in fact, some public servants who engage in these wrongful acts, which are then mistakenly attributed to politicians,” she lamented.
Investigations into the “goro boys,” who victimize applicants with the assistance of office personnel, are still continuing and progressing, she noted.
The Minister stated that she is confident there is collaboration with specific employees at the Passport Office since these outside parties are unable to function independently.
In order to prevent others, she has warned that those who are found guilty would face legal consequences.