More than 65 Ghanaians have either been stranded, detained or deported from Australia on suspicions of visa fraud by immigration authorities of that country and transit countries like Singapore.
The beleagured Ghanaians were billed to provide coverage for Team Ghana at the upcoming Commonwealth Games at Gold Coast in Australia, as they were issued visas as journalists from various media houses in Ghana.
Our sources say the Australia immigration authorities became suspicious when some of the ‘journalists’ could not justify the purpose of their travel nor could express themselves in English when they were undergoing immigration formalities at the airport.
Our checks indicate the Ministry of Sports in Ghana, fronted for visas for more than 73 individuals whom they declared as journalists and charged them fees ranging from GHS 15000 to GHS 22000, so they could flee to greener pastures once they had entered Australia.
Some members of the 72-man Team Ghana who are been hosted at the Games Village at Gold Coast had also attempted to flee even days before the event would commence, a situation which has kept the Australian security on high alert for Ghanaians attending the event.
One of the detainees who spoke with this writer before his mobile phone was ceased said ‘we are about 40 here and we have been packed in a small room; we are been interrogated and some of us has already been processed for deportation tomorrow’.
A deputy Minister of Sports and the head of the National Sports Authority who are both part of the Ghanaian contingent have been mentioned as being behind the sale of visa slots to the undeserving individuals.
As at the time of filing this story, only one journalist from Ghana had gotten the chance to enter Australia and he told this reporter that ‘I’m afraid to go out from my hotel; I might be arrested and deported too. Our leaders have disgraced Ghana a lot’.
Others have been left stranded at airports in Singapore and Turkey since the Australian immigration agency have asked those countries not to allow any Ghanaian to transit to that Oceanic country.
A Kumasi-based journalist who had been stuck in Singapore said ‘my flight has left for Australia with my luggage; I’m freezing here and running out of cash. I am trying to get a return ticket back to Ghana’.
Some of the detained in Australia may be on their way back to Ghana by the next available flight.
Our checks have established that, only 15 out of the 72 who were given visas were actually journalists ; four from the Ashanti region and the 11 from Accra.
It would take only the Ministry of Sports and the National Sports Council to explain who the excess 57 are.
Source : ABN GHANA