Publish names of diplomatic passport holders Government urged

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North Tongu MP Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa has said for purposes of transparency and full disclosure, it will be ideal for the government to publish names of past government appointees who are still holding on to diplomatic passports and those who have retuned theirs.

According to him, this will bring finality to the matter.

The Minister of Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration, Shirley Ayorkor Botchway, has hinted that members of the erstwhile Mahama government who refuse to hand over diplomatic passports will be stopped at the country’s airports during trips as a last resort.

The minister indicated that the grace period for the former officials and appointees to hand over such passports has elapsed, yet some have refused to tender diplomatic passports issued to them while in office.

According to her, government will have no option than to halt the trips of culpable officials.

“Bring them in, the deadline is past and it might not be very good for such a person who should have handed in the passport who decides not to but to travel with it to be stopped at the airport. … It will happen, that is the next step and I don’t want any colleague, just because they are members of the past government, to go through such an ordeal,” she noted on Wednesday, May 24.

But commenting on this matter in an interview with Chief Jerry Forson on Ghana Yensom on Accra 100.5FM on Thursday May 25, Mr Ablakwa said: “When they issue the passport, they do keep the records of the people they are issuing to, they have their contacts, and so they should contact them.

“[But] in the spirit of full disclosure, I don’t see anything wrong if the ministry will want to publish the names of those who have returned and those who have not returned; it will bring transparency and also help.

“Apart from that there were some appointees who were issued diplomatic passports, however, they are also Members of Parliament, they are no more ministers but they are Members of Parliament. I, for example, I deserved a diplomatic passport because I was a Deputy Minister of Education, I am also a Member of Parliament… We don’t have to return ours because we are entitled to keep it, all MPs are entitled to hold diplomatic passports. By a parliamentary resolution years back, many decades ago, MPs are entitled to hold diplomatic passports.

“Presidential staffers like Dr Clement Apaak were issued diplomatic passports because he was entitled to it. I remember he approached me to ask if he had to return the passport. But now that he is a Member of Parliament, he will need to keep his because he is entitled to it.”