UK Visa Fraud: Former MP fights British High Commission
General News of Saturday, 29 April 2017
A former Member of Parliament (MP) for Asunafo South in the Brong Ahafo Region, Mr George Boakye, who is alleged to have engaged in visa fraud by the British High Commission has threatened to sue the commission if a 10-year travel ban imposed on him is not reversed.
The High Commission, in a letter addressed to the Speaker of Parliament, Professor Mike Oquaye, had accused the former legislator of engaging in visa racketeering , using his diplomatic passport.
According to the High Commission, Mr Boakye used his diplomatic passport to apply for a United Kingdom (UK) visa for himself and his 37-year-old daughter to visit London for 17 days.
The visa, the High Commission said, was granted on September 14, 2012, and the MP and his daughter travelled on September 17, 2013, but instead of the 17 days, the daughter ended up staying in the UK for three years.
However, Mr Boakye, in a letter signed by his lawyer, Mr Kwabena Asare Atuah, and addressed to the British High Commission, said he travelled with a normal passport on September 17, 2013, and not a diplomatic passport as claimed by the High Commission.
“My client travelled with a normal Ghanaian passport with passport number H1050729 and not a diplomatic passport. My client was granted a two-year visa from 14/9/12 to 14/9/14 with visa number 011164422,’’ the letter said.
Daughter travelled alone
The letter also claimed that although he travelled together with his daughter she had applied for a separate visa which was independent of his own.
“The purpose of the visit to the UK by my client and his 37-year-old daughter was a private one. My client returned as scheduled. His daughter who is an adult failed to return as scheduled. My client cannot in any way be blamed because his adult daughter overstayed her entry permit into the UK.
“My client has not engaged in any form of visa fraud. All documents presented by my client were genuine and he made the application directly to the UK Commission and not through any supposed third party. He has not abused the privileges and responsibilities as a Diplomatic Passport holder,’’ the letter said.
The letter, therefore, called on the UK High Commission to reverse the travel ban imposed on the former MP or “my client will use all legal means to appeal against the decision to impose a travel ban on him to the UK and also clear his name’’.
The letter was copied to President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, Professor Oquaye, the Majority Leader, Mr Osei-Kyei-Mensah Bonsu, and the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Ms Shirley Ayorkor Botchway.
Three sitting MPs: Mr Richard Acheampong, Bia East in the Western Region; Mr Joseph Benhazin Dahah, Asutifi North in the Brong Ahafo Region; Mr Johnson Kwaku Adu, Ahafo Ano South West in the Ashanti Region, were also alleged by the High Commission to have used their diplomatic passports to secure visas for some family members to travel to the United Kingdom (UK) but they did not return per their visa conditions.
Three other MPs whose names are yet to be disclosed are also under investigation for similar offences.