Cape Coast passport office: Goro boys take control; charge exorbitant fees

0
65
passport

The Central Regional Passport office in Cape Coast has been hijacked by middlemen, known as Goro boys, who charge unreasonable fees from applicants, despite Foreign Affairs Minister’s recent public uproar over the rot in the passport application centers.

The Goro Boys, along with some officials at the passport office, such as Immigration officers and other security officials, have been charging excessive fees to expedite the process of issuing passports.

The action has affected hundreds of applicants who visit the office every day.

These unauthorized elements have mounted containers and stores in and around the office to further their illicit transactions by engaging in printing and altering passport dates.

They charge between the amount of GHC1,000 to GHC1,600 with the assurance of delivering the passport within a week or two.

Some civil service workers who share the premises with the office have assumed a central role in the illegal transaction using their positions to peddle influence or facilitate the process at exorbitant fee

The Regional Information Service Department (IDS) office has been converted into an annex of the passport office receiving dozens of applicants daily.

RELATED: Alan Kyerematen’s mode of departure from the party disappointing – NPP

An Investigation carried out by GhanaWeb showed that the office is always busy receiving applicants to help them with the online application as anxious applicants frequent the ISD office for the process.

A worker who pleaded anonymity told GhanaWeb that officers had a lot of time on their hands to engage in the ‘Goro’ business because they were almost always idle.

GhanaWeb’s investigation revealed that the middlemen dress smartly like officials and approach prospective applicants to persuade them.

Applicants voice out rot

An applicant who spoke on the condition of anonymity said she was charged GHC2,000 but pleaded for a reduction and paid GHC 1,500 to facilitate the process.

“I paid money to receive my passport within a week but my friend who could not pay is still struggling to get hers, though it’s been months now,” she told GhanaWeb.

She received the passport at the expected date scheduled by the middleman, but her friend whom she came with, is yet to receive her passport, months after going through all the stages.

The applicant pleaded with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration to enforce measures to sanitize the system to favour everyone in the country.

“The government has introduced digitalization to scrub all these corrupt activities in the system but people find their way out to bypass the system,” she admonished.

READ ALSO: Awoamefia assures dwellers of coastal areas in the V/R of finding lasting solution to sea destruction

Passport Office Denies Allegations

In response to the situation, Mr Micheal Asante, the Regional Director of the office denied the activities of Goro boys who have taken over the premises; adding that those might not come from his office.

“There are people around particularly Goro boys but I don’t have any Goro man on my staff list. But we have people around who have mounted containers and others who claim they are passport application centers and charge them depending on the service the person wants. I am not talking about it because it’s outside my jurisdiction but none of my staff have been involved in that act,” he told our reporter.

He assured the office was working assiduously to resolve those challenges to make the passport application seem less.

“Sometimes logistics issues are the only problem that delays passports in the Regions but when there are booklet immediately our backlogs are printed out,” he said.

Mr Asante encouraged applicants to commence the online registration process before moving to the office for biometrics and other processes.

He cautioned perpetrators of the Goro acts to desist or face the law when caught in the acts.

“I don’t tolerate such acts and no applicant has informed or complained that my staff are charging for the process and if I get hold of one the person will immediately be sacked or sanctioned,” he said.

About Post Author

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here