Ghana’s Foreign Affairs Minister, Hanna Tetteh, has dismissed claims that Ghana has jeopardised its relationship with South Africa due to the supposed mistreatment of three of its nationals in the country.
Some three former police officers from South Africa, were arrested by officials of Ghana’s national security. The men were detained and charged but were subsequently repatriated.
The Bureau of National Investigations (BNI) was widely criticized for the arrest with several groups alleging that it was politically motivated following revelations that the 3 had been invited into the country to train the security team of the Flagbearer of the New Patriotic Party (NPP), Nana Akufo Addo and his running mate, Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia.
The South African government opted to stay out of the case which was being treated as a criminal matter rather than a diplomatic issue.
There have been suggestions that Ghana’s relations with South Africa could suffer a setback as a result of the treatment meted out to the three ex-police officers. But speaking during an interaction with members of the ECOWAS Media Network in Accra, Hanna Tetteh said:
“There’s no diplomatic row with South Africa, it’s a figment of anyone’s imagination. “I can assure you that because we have acted within our laws and we have taken a decision that we are fully able to take within our laws,” she added.
Passport Office delays to be solved soon
Ghana’s Passport Office has recently been hit with a shortage of passport booklets which has also affected the country’s missions abroad. The situation has led to delays in acquiring passports at the Office and created several problems in the country’s embassies in other countries.
According to the Minister, the Controller and Accountant General’s Department (CADG) which supplies them with passport booklets, has promised to provide passport booklets by next week to expedite service delivery.
“The passport booklets are considered to be value books. Value books are not issued by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, they are issued by the Controller and Account General’s Department so when we make an order for booklets from the CAGD, they are supposed to order the booklets on our behalf, deliver them to us so that we also in turn can distribute them to the missions abroad.
My information from the CADG is that, they will have the booklets next week. I sincerely hope they do. The moment that happens and we can deliver the booklets to our missions abroad, immediately the pressure on the passport office here will reduce and that will make it much easier for people to get their passports on time after they have applied for them,” Hanna Tetteh explained.
“If indeed we are able to get the machine-readable booklets next week as we were promised, then our service delivery should improve in about a month.With the backlog that we have to deal with at the moment, it would take us about that period of time to clear it and be able to deal with applications as and when they are made and to process them as quickly as possible.”