12 October 2012

Ghana: Gov Agencies Trade Accusations

CONTRARY to claims by the Minerals Commission that the Ghana Immigration Service (GIS) is responsible for the influx of Chinese into the country, particularly at the rich mineral deposit sites, the Ashanti Regional Commander of the GIS, Mr. Ebenezer Acquaah, has defended his outfit, saying it is not only the Immigration Service that issue permission and relevant documents for foreigners to work in the country.

At a sensitization workshop organized by the Mineral Commission for Assembly and unit Committee members, chiefs and other stakeholders at the mining area, the Chief Inspector of Mines at the Commission, Mr. Stephen Piedu, accused the GIS as an institution of doing little to control the influx of illegal Chinese miners into the country.

But Mr. Acquaah told The Chronicle in an interview, in response to Mr. Stephen Piedu, Chief Inspector of Mines at the Minerals Commission that the GIS was doing little to curtail the influx of illegal Chinese miners, such that relevant documentations for foreigners to work in the country could be issued to foreign nationals including the Chinese by three different government bodies.

The Ashanti regional GIS Commander mentioned these institutions as the Ministry of Interior, Ghana Investment Promotion Council and the GIS, explaining further that the resident permit is issued when the person affected provides them (GIS) with satisfactory documentation from the two other bodies.

Mr. Acquaah said the GIS was not responsible for the issuing of visas, but foreigners seeking to come to Ghana had to call at any Ghana Embassy for processing of visa, before he could arrive in Ghana. The Ashanti GIS boss further explained that when such persons arrive in the country with a mission to transact business, they first of all go to the Register General department to register their business.

"So it is wrong for people to say that the Immigration Service is doing little to stop the influx of the Chinese illegal miners", adding "we don't issue mining permit, but the Minerals Commission and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) do so".

He disclosed to The Chronicle that the GIS is working seriously to expose all foreigners who do not have the relevant documents to stay and work in the country. According to him, the GIS has arrested several foreigners in Ashanti region, including Chinese and other nationals, and sent them to Accra for repatriation to their home countries.

Quite apart from their repatriation, those found to be without genuine papers are also made to pay a fine of GH¢2, 000.00. The GIS Ashanti Commander said the region is so big that they can not monitor or see what was going on in other parts of the region, and for that matter appealed to the people to report any suspicious foreigners.

Mr. Acquaah noted that it needs collaborative efforts from all stakeholders and all government agencies responsible for foreign arrivals into Ghana to team up in order to fight these Chinese illegal miners who are bent on destroying the little natural resources at our disposal.

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