The Member of Parliament for North Tongu and the ranking member on the Foreign Affairs Committee, Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa, has praised the Foreign Affairs Minister, Shirley Ayorkor Botchwey, for her strong stance against alleged corruption-related activities at the Passport Office.
Madam Botchwey during an unannounced visit to the Passport Office on Monday, August 14 expressed her anger over the constant extortion of money from applicants by passport workers and “goro boys and girls” to expedite their services.
Speaking on Eyewitness News on Citi FM, the North Tongu legislator said though his consistent calls had often been disregarded, it is better to celebrate the late action by the sector Minister.
“I have always been calling for hands-on action on matters about getting a passport and so the Minister must be commended for descending at the Passport Office to ensure that the right thing is done and I am saying that we have to encourage this kind of action.”
Mr. Ablakwa, however, questioned the effectiveness of leadership at the various passport offices which he said are so lax it had to take the sector minister to express her anger at the corruption-related activities that go on at the various centres and called for action to be taken.
“Why does it have to take the Minister to go to the Passport Office to ensure that people that had overstayed their service but continued being there and what does that say about the leadership at the Passport Office?
Mr. Ablakwa added that what is urgently needed at the various passport centers is to print the over 11,000 backlog and give way for automation afterward to ensure a smooth process of acquiring a passport.
“Fundamentally, the backlog has to be cleared and I recall when we met them, they told us that they had about 11,000 people in the backlog and the Minister then assured us that they had ordered some giant industrial printers to help clear the backlog in good time to give way for automation but that is yet to happen.”