Corruption at Passport Office: Minister sacks overstayed officers

Shirley Ayorkor Botchwey, the Minister for Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration, has expressed concern about the persistent issue of extortion and corruption taking place at the Passport Office.

In response, Madam Ayorkor Botchwey has taken action by relieving staff members who were seconded to the passport office from their duties.

Starting from Monday, August 21, 2023, these employees have been instructed not to report to work as they have been removed from their positions. It’s worth noting that she specifically advised employees who had been working at the Passport Office for over a year to refrain from coming to work, as part of measures to restore integrity.

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“Everybody who has been here for more than one year, from Monday on, please do not come back because you have been changed. We want to restore some sanity. Every time politicians are corrupt, meanwhile, it is some public civil servants who will do things that shouldn’t be done, and then they will be put on politicians,” she directed.

This decision followed her recent visit to the passport office, during which she was appalled by the unjust practices that applicants were being subjected to by the employees.

She lamented that, thanks to the collaborative efforts of Vice President Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia, the Ministry had successfully digitized the passport acquisition process.

However, certain individuals are deliberately exploiting the system for personal gain.

The Minister alluded to ongoing investigations into the illicit activities, revealing that some names had already emerged.

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“It is disheartening that while blame is often laid at the feet of politicians, it is, in fact, some public servants who engage in these wrongful acts, which are then mistakenly attributed to politicians,” she lamented.

The investigations have revealed the existence of a network operating in conjunction with Passport Office personnel. She expressed astonishment at the widespread perception that only politicians and her ministry were implicated in corruption.

She also mentioned that investigations into the activities of the “goro boys,” who take advantage of applicants with the assistance of office staff, are currently underway and making progress.

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The Minister is convinced that there is collaboration involving specific individuals within the Passport Office, as these external actors cannot operate in isolation.

As a result, she issued a stern warning that those found guilty will face legal consequences as a deterrent to others.

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