The Minister of Foreign Affairs, Shirley Ayorkor Botchwey, has dismissed overstaying officers and agency representatives at various passport offices in the Greater Accra region.
The move according to her comes as a response to growing concerns of alleged involvement in illicit activities and corrupt practices that have tarnished the reputation of the passport issuance system.
Speaking during a media briefing on August 14, 2023, the minister explained that the decision takes effect from August 21, 2023, as part of efforts to bring about much-needed reforms to the passport application centers.
She highlighted what she referred to as the disturbing trend of overstaying officers purportedly colluding with unauthorized intermediaries, commonly referred to as “goro people,” to exploit applicants by charging exorbitant fees for expedited passport services.
“First of all, let me say that this is not the first time I have come to the passport office, I have done an unannounced tour of the two passport application centres, but for me, this particular visit has become necessary because of some reports that I have.
“Reports that officers and there are nine or so agencies represented in any passport application centre…these people are involved in illegal activities and when I say illegal activities we know just two days ago the report in Daily Guide that the issue of goro people involved in our passport acquisition process has become rife, it is wrong.
“How can 100 Ghana for standard service of passport acquisition and 150 for expedited service be bumped up to 2,000 and 3,000? I hear they don’t even charge 2,000 now they are charging 3000 and it is wrong.
“But I can say and we all will agree that a goro person is outside the passport office and they need somebody inside to work with, they cannot do it on their own, people are paying 2,000, 3,000 to acquire a passport, why should this be so?
“We are investigating and we have some leads which we are dealing with, and very soon we will be able to have some firm information that we will deal with,” she said.
The infuriated minister added “Listen, this is not something new, we have always said that no agency should keep their staff here for more than a year, and yet this is overlooked sometimes and so I intend to ensure that this is carried out.
“Anybody who has been here for more than a year from Monday please do not come back because you have been changed, we want to bring some sanity, every time politicians are corrupt meanwhile it is some public civil servants who will do things that shouldn’t be done and they put it on politicians.”