The Minister of Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration, Shirley Ayorkor Botchwey has revealed that there is an ongoing investigation into the alleged corrupt activities of some passport officials at the Passport Office.
The Minister lamented that the reports of extortions and corruption-related activities have become one too many and a major concern for the ministry.
When she stormed the Passport Office on Monday, August 14, 2023, she expressed her displeasure with the ongoing extortion and corruption.
The Minister was particularly upset that passport office employees treated applicants with contempt.
As a result, the Minister has advised that personnel seconded to the Passport Office not report for duty on Monday, August 21, 2023.
She told journalists that a thorough investigation had been begun to resolve the matter.
She also disclosed that some ‘goro boys’ are working with support from some passport officials to extort monies from applicants.
“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 ascribed to politicians.”
The Minister further instructed that officers with more than a year’s tenure at the Passport Office not return to work.
“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 added that although the government has invested heavily in digitisation to enhance the work at the Passport Office, some workers were sabotaging the process.
The Fire Service, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Police, the Ghana Armed Forces, National Security, and four other agencies were all affected.
Officers who are largely on secondment are not to stay longer than five months because they are suspected of being corrupted.
The Minister went on to say that the ‘goro guys’ are outsiders who cannot function alone and must collaborate with some Passport Office employees.
She stated that public workers who are supposed to serve Ghanaians should not be involved in corrupt agreements.
She cautioned that those found guilty will be prosecuted to act as a deterrence to others.