By Alfred K Dogbey
The Herald’s investigation, has revealed that the Director of Passport, Mr. Odoi Anim, has been sacked over various illicit acts.
According to The Herald’s information, Mr. Odoi is said to have being encouraging the activities of passport contractors, while in office, thereby frustrating the acquisition of Ghanaian passports through genuine means.
Reports are also that a huge number of Ghanaian passports are in the hands of foreigners, who acquired them through crook means from these passport contractors, who are mostly seen freely loitering in and around the Passport Office in Ridge, Accra.
This paper also learnt that some of Mr. Anim’s subordinate, including National service personnel, openly extort money from the public before processing their passports.
The activities of the passport contractors, has led to the increase in the price of acquiring the passport exorbitantly, instead of the officially recognizsed amount of GH¢50 for ordinary passport, and GH¢100 for expressed one.
These and other things led to the interdiction of Mr. Odoi Anim, and the subsequent appointment of Alexander Grant Nktrakwa, as Acting Director of Passport by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration.
It was explained that Mr. Odoi, was not sacked because of Eric Amoateng’s fraudulent acquisition of a Ghanaian passport whiles serving in a US prison over drug offence, however, the former New Patriotic Party (NPP) Member of Parliament’s passport issue, is said to have
intensified official investigation leading eventually to his removal.
It is not yet clear, what Mr. Odoi’s next role will be at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration.
The Herald gathered that when people go to the passport office to apply for passport, officials there tell them to go away with a canny explanation that the passport booklet have finished, besides government owes, therefore, the suppliers are not ready to supply the booklet.
However, when these frustrated people are about leaving the passport office premises, they are directed to different locations, where the Passport Contractors operate. They are charged more money to acquire the passports eventually.
The Herald’s, impeccable sources within the Passport Office, have disclosed that passport numbers are shared to these Passport Contractors, who could have access to passports anytime, having been given passport numbers to allocated to prospective applicants, who had gone through the normal process.
For instant, people who have applied for both ordinary and express passports since January – February and April to last August, have still not received their passports.
The cost of the ordinary passport is GH¢50 and is expected to take three weeks to be processed, whilst the express cost GH¢100 and takes one week, but surprisingly, a huge number of forms are still lying on Mr. Odoi’s table unprocessed for several months now.
The sacked passport boss, is also accused of engaging non-staff of the Passport Office into his office, some of whom had access to lots of
confidential documents and machines, more than the actual staff working in the office.
The automatic processing machine, which the passport office uses to generate the passport numbers is said to be deliberately broken down, thereby, allowing the whole passport processing system into the hands of some unscrupulous individuals using it to generate huge profits for themselves.
Meanwhile, The Herald is informed that Mr. Odoi, was several times written to, to hand over his role, but he did not comply. It had to take an invitation from the Bureau of National Investigations (BNI) before he obliged to leave the Passport Office.
Mr. Odoi, recently told Joy FM, that Amoateng’s passport was issued in 2009 and in that year, “I was not in Ghana; I wasn’t even Director of Passport; I was a Deputy Ambassador in Holland and came back in 2011.”
“I don’t work in the Washington Consulate; I never signed passports from there and that particular passport was machine readable, so it is very easy to find out the director who signed that passport for Mr. Amoateng.” he cried, but failed to talk about his interdiction.