Fake US Embassy in Ghana: Residents of photographed house deny link

Mad. Lamptey
Mad. Susan Lamptey during the interview.

On December 2, 2016, ghanabusinessnews.com broke a story about a busted fake US Embassy that was being operated by a gang made up of Turkish and Ghanaian citizens in the capital Accra.

The initial information published November 2, 2016 on the website of the US Department of State said a joint task force of both Ghanaian and foreign security operatives shut down the fake Embassy operating in a building somewhere in the capital, Accra.

It pointed out that members of an organized crime gang made up of Turkish and Ghanaian citizens operated the fake Embassy where they flew the American flag on the building every Monday, Tuesday, and Friday from 7:30am to 12 noon and issued fraudulently obtained, legitimate US visas, counterfeit visas, false identification documents (including bank records, education records, birth certificates, and others) for a cost of $6,000.

But residents of the photographed building in the story, a pink two-storey house, located in the ancient town of Adabraka, Accra, say their house has never been used as a fake Embassy, stating that the first time they heard about the story was through WhatsApp messages and on the Internet.

Ghanabusinessnews.com spoke to six residents, but only two agreed to speak on camera.

Mad. Susan Lamptey, is 60 years old, was born in the house, No. 51 Ahinakwa Street, Adabraka, Accra and has lived there all her life. She told ghanabusinessnews.com that no such thing has ever taken place in the house.

According to her, eight families live in the building that was bequeathed to them by her late grandfather.

The initial information said a US flag was hoisted on the building, and when she was asked about the flag, Mad. Lamptey said, she has never seen a US flag on the building.

Asked if she was aware of any security operation in the building she responded, “No. They have disgraced us,” she said, by posting the photo of the house all over the place.

“In July, I went to the American Embassy for visa. If there was something going on here, I wouldn’t have gone there,” she said. Her visa application though was rejected, and she brought out her rejection letter to show the news team.

One other resident who spoke on condition of anonymity said, “See how rundown the house is, and see how poor I am. If we were running a fake Embassy here and taking $6000, I would be rich.”

Mr. Pierre Kwetey, who has been running a tailoring shop in the building for more than 20 years, equally expressed surprise and dismay. He told ghanabusinessnews.com that, the first time he heard about the story was when a relative abroad emailed a link on a news website to him.

He corroborated Mad. Lamptey and the others, and said he has never seen a US flag on the building and he hasn’t also heard of any security operation in the building.

Asked if security officials have ever questioned him, he answered, “no,” adding that, if they were engaged in visa deals, he would be rich.

“How can I use this small shop to do visa deals?,” He asked, “This is what I do (tailoring), to feed my children,” he said, adding that he thinks someone has wrongly used the photo of the house and they would seek legal assistance in clearing their good name.

US Embassy officials in Ghana, would not speak on the record, because, they say the matter is still under investigation.

According to the US Department of State initial information, the scam was discovered following investigations, which is a small part of a broader “Operation Spartan Vanguard” initiative.

“Operation Spartan Vanguard” was developed by Diplomatic Security agents in the Regional Security Office (RSO) at the US Embassy in Ghana in order to address trafficking and fraud plaguing the Embassy and the region.

The information indicated that during the course of another fraud investigation in “Operation Spartan Vanguard” an informant tipped off the ARSO-I about the fake US Embassy, as well as a fake Netherlands Embassy operating in Accra.

“After receiving the tip, the ARSO-I, who is the point person in the RSO shop for “Operation Spartan Vanguard” investigations, verified the information with partners within the Ghanaian Police Force. The ARSO-I then created an international task force composed of the aforementioned Ghana Police Force, as well as the Ghana Detective Bureau, Ghana SWAT, and officials from the Canadian Embassy to investigate further,” it said.

It added further that the gang “issued fraudulently obtained, legitimate US visas, counterfeit visas, false identification documents (including bank records, education records, birth certificates, and others) for a cost of $6,000.”

But later in another statement, the Department of State said, “We are not aware of anyone from our US Embassy in Accra being involved in this fraud operation. The visas were obtained through fraudulent, criminal activity.”

“The operators of this criminal fraud operation obtained real Ghanaian or foreign passports that were either lost, stolen, or sold to them. A handful (fewer than 10) of the passports seized by law enforcement contained expired US visas. The visas in question were not stolen from the US Embassy, where very rigorous security and accountability measures are in place to protect these valuable documents. The criminal fraud operation made and printed counterfeit visas using the expired visas as a blueprint. None of the individuals who purchased these counterfeit visas were able to use them to travel to the United States,” a statement from the US Embassy in Accra sent to ghanabusinessnews.com two weeks ago said.

By Emmanuel K. Dogbevi
Copyright © 2016 by Creative Imaginations Publicity
All rights reserved. This piece or any portion thereof may not be reproduced or used in any manner whatsoever without the express written permission of the publisher except for the use of brief quotations in reviews.

See attached video of interviews below.

Leave A Reply

Your email address will not be published.