Sports Ministry institutes measures to forestall illegal visa transactions
The Ministry of Youth and Sports has instituted measures to forestall cases of visa racketeering by individuals and personnel of the National Sports Council (NSC).
Abdul Rashid Pelpuo, Minister of Youth and Sports in a statement signed on his behalf by Kofi Aggrey, Public Relations Officer said “such illegal deals have the tendency to damage the Ministry’s image and reputation, and also place on the Ministry the risk of making it difficult to obtain visas for genuine sports programmes.
James Dennis Armah, an official of the NSC has been in the news in recent times for allegedly sending hearing persons for a Deaf competition in Australia, and the Ministry’s measures is geared towards curbing future occurrences.
Mr Pelpuo said the Ministry has become concerned about the recent cases of visa racketeering who have used sports as a conduit to obtain visas for purposes that are not connected to sports.
He said in all cases such persons take advantage of the sport events outside the country to obtain visas illegally under the false seal of the Ministry for persons who are charged huge sums of money for the acquisitions.
The Minister has therefore directed that henceforth all applications from agencies of the Ministry for visas be routed through the Ministry and must be submitted at least three weeks ahead of departure from the country.
“Applications for visa will be critically examined by a committee under the chairmanship of the Public Relations Manager of the Ministry, with the task of meeting and interviewing the applicants before onward submission of recommendations for necessary action.
“Other members of the three-member committee are an Assistant Director of the Ministry and a representative of the NSC, with the Chairman or General Secretary, or a representative of the institution requesting for the visa being in attendance.”
Mr Pelpuo added that applications may be dispatched only if they have been signed by the Minister, his Deputy or the Chief Director in the absence of both.
The Minister urged High Commissions, Embassies, Consulates and other foreign missions “to cross-check with the Minister, Deputy Minister or the Chief Director on all visa applications submitted through the Ministry to forestall any abuses.”