The attention of the Embassy of Ghana in Rome, Italy has been drawn to reports that some foreign nationals, particularly Nigerians, are in possession of Ghana Passports purportedly issued by this Embassy. These reports, some of which have appeared on various social media platforms, seek to impute that this is an ongoing practice that has continued under the current administration of the Mission.
We wish to clarify that we are aware that some foreign nationals in Italy and elsewhere indeed hold Ghana passports. Our enquiries indicate that, most if not all of these passports issued in Rome were acquired through the assistance of other unpatriotic Ghanaians, under a previous arrangement where some identifiable Ghanaian nationals resident in Italy were allowed to constitute themselves into passport agents to collect bulk passport applications from applicants for a fee, and submit same to the Embassy for processing and issuance.
It was for this and other reasons that upon arrival in Rome in July 2017, the current Ambassador introduced a new policy that, among others, eliminated the use of middlemen in the acquisition of passports, reinstated a consular outreach policy whereby staff of the Mission travel to locations with concentration of Ghanaians over alternate weekends to interview prospective applicants and accept applications for passports, and also crafted a strategy to gradually retrieve those passports improperly issued to non-Ghanaians under the past arrangement.
This new policy, which incorporates the physical interview of every applicant for the issue or renewal of a Ghana passport, has been strictly enforced since September 2017, much to the annoyance of the middlemen who have now lost an illegal but lucrative source of revenue, and some of whom are known to have sworn to wage a campaign to discredit the Embassy. We can confidently assure all our compatriots that since September 2017, it is no longer possible for a foreign national to obtain a Ghana passport from the Ghana Embassy in Rome.
On the contrary, our policy of retrieving Ghana passports from foreign nationals is yielding limited but positive results. Our records indicate that during the same period, eleven Ghana passports have been confiscated from foreigners who sought to renew those passports after they had expired. We would like to take this opportunity to appeal to all Ghanaians with knowledge of identifiable foreigners who hold Ghana passports to provide the relevant information to the Embassy and thereby assist us to retrieve those illegally obtained passports from the holders.
The Embassy further wishes to assure all Ghanaians that, it remains committed to protecting the integrity of our official documents, and will not be swayed by the negative campaign of its detractors from the achievement of its objectives to facilitate the acquisition of Ghanaian official document by Ghanaians resident in Italy, while at the same time preventing access to those documents by persons who are not entitled to hold them.
Thank You and God Bless Ghana.