It has emerged that, a visa racket syndicate might be operating in the Office of the Vice President, with the two letters emanating Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia’s Head of Protocol, Nana Enoch Osei-Mensah, requesting for visas to a conference in Geneva –Switzerland, to be led by Second Lady, Samira Bawumia, later this month.
Government, has maintained that only one letter dated October 8, 2018, went to the Foreign Affairs Ministry,addressed to the Minister; Shirley Ayorkor Botchway, requesting Schengen Entry Visa from the Swiss Embassy for six persons namely; Mrs. Bawumia, Emmanuel Kwame Twum Asiamah; Projects Coordinator, Zelia Amsat Osman; Aide, Kwame Ofori-Danso; Press Secretary, Joyreen Adubea Gyewu; ADC and Nasiru Salifu; Security.
But there’s another letter dated October 10, in which same visas were requested for 20 people, including Mrs. Bawumia, leaving most Ghanaians unconvinced, arguing that the October 8 letter was thrown into the media to cover up something sinister, after eyebrows were raised about the October 10 one.
The most damning suspicions has been that there may be a syndicate in the Vice President’s Office, which is involved in faking documents and visa racketeering, and that government lied, when Deputy Minister of Information, Pious Enam Hadzide, said it did not sanction the October 10 letter.
Pius who made public the October 8 letter wrote on his Facebook page, “we should all be worried about this new trend of “fake news”. The 2nd lady’s entourage to the WHO Conference in Geneva is just six (6) and not twenty”.
This comes on the back of similar allegation the same week that the Vice President travelled with a bloated delegation of 21 to the same country for United Nations’ Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), with doubts that all the travelers returned to Ghana.
The October 10 letter on Mrs. Bawumia’s trip, had names and some vague designations such as; Joyreen Adubea Gyewu, Lady-in-Waiting, Fawzy Ramadan, Special Assistant, who is alleged to be sister of Mrs. Bawumia, Jamila Adams, as Senior Aide, Mary Boammaa Wilson ,described as Health Advisor, Frederick Abeku Wilson, also vaguely described as Health Logistics Advisor and Kwame Ofori-Danso, who is loosely described as head of Programmes.
Others were; Emmanuel Appiah Gyan, mentioned as Photographer, Samuel Apiah Gyan, mentioned as a Videographer, aside Ebenezer Donkor as Media Aide, Zelia Amsat Osman ambiguously mentioned as Aide, Shakiratm Larteef also said to be Mrs. Bawumia’s Protocol Officer, George Yaw Bawuah, is another Media Aide, while Samuel Owusu, was mentioned as Logistics Officer.
There were six Security Officers being; Nasiru Salifu, Mohammed Kaba, Sgt/Elizabeth Boakye, CPL/ Andrew Yidana Abudu, Sgt/ Leslie Kwabena Ofori Debrah and CPL/ Edward Sarpong Ofori.
Government is yet to confirm or deny the existence of these 14 individuals in the office of the Second Lady, aside Emmanuel Kwame Twum Asiamah; Projects Coordinator, Zelia Amsat Osman; Aide, Kwame Ofori-Danso; Press Secretary, Joyreen Adubea Gyewu; ADC and Nasiru Salifu; Security whose names are on the October 8, letter.
There is also suspicion that, the October 8 letter was deliberately backdated by the visa syndicate to douse the controversy generated by the October 10.
Mrs. Bawumia, is attending the 3-days conference, which is slated for October 30-1 November 2018.
It is themed “Improving air quality, combating climate change-saving lives”. The Conference will be held at World Health Organization’s headquarters in Geneva in collaboration with the United Nations (UN).
On both letters, no one was represented by either Ministries of Health, nor Environment, even though according to this paper’s searches on the Conference, it specifically stated that participates would include Ministers of Health and Environment and other national government representatives, representatives of intergovernmental agencies, health professionals, other sectors (e.g transport, energy, etc) as well as from research, academia and civil society.
The first two days of the Conference, will present evidence, identity gaps and solutions, and will be targeted at practitioners and other technical and political representatives from the health sector, and other sectors, relevant to the discourse. The third day will be High Level Action Day.
Questions are being asked as to why government is not interested in finding out how the October 10 letter surfaced on social media 24 hours before the so-called original, and who indeed, was behind it?
Who are the people whose names were mentioned in the said fake letter and are they indeed in the Vice President Office or they are not known in the government at all?
How about the designations like videographer, health logistics adviser, media aide and others, which were assigned to the names, does the Office have appointees and designations like that at the seat of government?
How come the signee of the two letters, Enoch Nana Osei-Mensah, who happens to be the Head of Protocol, Office of the Vice-President, has remained quiet in the face of all the allegations being thrown about?
It would be recalled that, the first letter dated October 10, 2018, containing the 20 names was initially leaked on social media on Wednesday after news of Dr. Bawumia’s bloated 21-member delegation list to the United Nations’ Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) was criticized.
Indeed, Dr. Gideon Boako, Spokesperson to the Vice President, Dr. Mahamadu Bawumia, has dismissed concerns about the 21-member delegation that accompanied the Veep to the annual UNTACD in Geneva, Switzerland in 2017.
He claimed that, although the organizers had from their register mentioned 21, it was only 16 people, who were on the Vice-President’s delegation.