Prosecute, jail Ghanaians fronting for foreigners in passport, birth cert acquisition-STRANEK

Policy think tank Strategic Thinkers Network (STRANEK-AFRICA)has underscored the need for proper measures to be adopted in the acquisition of birth certificates and passport in order to curtail the existence if fraud and corruption in the system.

The think tank also raised concerns over the ability of foreigners in acquiring birth certificates and Ghanaian passports with the help of some Ghanaians.

“Unfortunately, bonefide Ghanaian citizens have had to go through hell over the years to either acquire, or replace their Birth Certificates or Passports whiles foreigners aided and abetted by the very Ghanaians working in these institutions and supported by middlemen popularly known as “connection men” easily acquire same, with just a few Ghana Cedis (within the range of Ghc 100 to Ghc 200). According to UNICEF, without a birth certificate, an individual does not officially exist and therefore lacks the legal right to access the privileges and protections of a nation.”

STRANEK argued that: “this is because a birth certificate is the basic document of an individual or a person can present to assert their right to citizenship. This therefore, means that if foreign nationals are successful in securing a Ghanaian birth certificates, it grants them the permission to acquire a Ghanaian Passport and access other related services such as healthcare, education and social services at the disposal of citizens.”

In order to prevent foreigners from acquiring these documents, STRANEK has recommended the prosecution of Ghanaians who facilitate the proceeds for them.

This they noted would serve as a deterrent to others.

“Aiding and abetting is criminalized under Section 20 of Ghana’s Criminal Code. it explicitly states “Every person who, directly or indirectly, instigates, commands, counsels, procures, solicits, or in any manner purposely aids, facilitates, encourages, or promotes, whether by his act or presence or otherwise, and every person who does any act for the purpose of aiding, facilitating, encouraging or promoting the commission of a crime by any other person, whether known or unknown, certain or uncertain, is guilty of abetting that crime, and of abetting the other person in respect of that crime”. To serve as a deterrent and to sanitize the processes of birth and death document acquisition and passport, the Birth and Death Registry should not only sanction compromised officers by suspending them and their promotions, but must also be made to serve prison sentences where necessary.

This is because this has the tendency of opening the door for aliens and criminal to illegally acquire Ghanaian birth certificate and passport (travel document) and who subsequently commit crimes and overstay their visas tarnishing the hard earned image of our beloved country (Ghana).”

It further called for an effective National Identification System saying: “The second recommendation is premised on the effective management and implementation of a National Identification Scheme. Ghana’s National Identification Scheme, intended to document Ghanaians and stay of foreigners is one of many important steps at controlling illegal acquisition of Ghana’s travel documents. Going forward, we recommend the National Identification Authority collaborate with the Ministry of Health and the Birth and Death Registry to have centers of registration for newly born babies at selected hospitals and clinics nationwide. This takes the form of having representatives at designated hospitals either manned by NIA and Birth and Death staff with login access to a centrally national database and subject to verification.”

It continued: The status of the registration of a child born, is subject to the citizenship status of both parents taken into consideration the citizenship acquisition guidelines clearly spelt out in Chapter 3 of the 1992 Constitution of Ghana.”

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