The British High commission in Ghana has accused three members of the country’s parliament and a former lawmaker of visa fraud.
The three serving MPs are Richard Acheampong, Johnson Kwaku Adu, Joseph Benhazin Dahah in addition to George Boakye. They are accused of facilitating the entry and illegal residency of some of their relatives to the U.K. using their diplomatic passports, according to Citifmonline.
If found guilty, they will all be denied future visa applications or face a minimum 10-year travel ban to the U.K.
A letter addressed to the Speaker of Parliament Mike Oquaye and signed by the British High Commissioner to Ghana Jon Benjamin accused the MPs of “visa fraud directly affecting the United Kingdom.”
Specifically, the letter said Acheampong used his diplomatic passport to secure a holiday visa for his wife who has continued to reside in the U.K. more than a year after she traveled to the country for a two-week holiday.
Adu traveled to London last July with his wife and 16-year-old daughter for a two-week holiday. And while he returned to Ghana after two days, U.K. immigration authorities suspect that his wife and daughter are still in Britain.
Dahah was accused of manipulations and irregularities in his visa applications for his wife and a niece whom he later claimed was his daughter, and Boakye, a former parliamentarian, obtained a visa for his daughter who then allegedly overstayed in the U.K. for more than three years and had to be repatriated by U.K. authorities.
The High Commission characterized the action of the lawmakers as “criminal in nature”: “The British High Commission considers the actions outlined above to be completely unacceptable. In some cases, these behaviors may arguably be criminal in nature.
“As already outlined, administrative measures have been taken to ensure that the honorable members mentioned here will most likely not be granted visas for the U.K. within the next 10 years.”
The High Commission further states that it would “henceforth only entertain and prioritize requests for visas from MPs if they are made through the parliamentary protocol office who should verify that there is an official, parliamentary reason for the proposed visit.”