The Births and Deaths Registry has suspended three of its staff following a Joy News documentary that found some officials charge unapproved fees from applicants.
Registrar, Rev. Kingsley Addo, said the unnamed staff have been asked to step aside to allow a committee to probe the alleged malfeasance.
“We have also sent our internal auditors round and they are actually doing some investigations for us…Those who are found culpable might to face the full disciplinary measures as pertains to the civil service,” Rev. Addo told reporter Ernest Kojo Manu.
Temporary staff including persons who have finished their national service as well as internship have also been asked not to report to the offices again.
This development follows the documentary ‘Paper Citizens’ produced by undercover journalist, Kwettey Nartey, detailing how officials of the Births and Deaths Registry were illegally issuing birth certificates to foreigners to help them acquire Ghanaian passports.
Ivoirians, Cameroonians and Nigerians, who were the main beneficiaries of the criminal dealings, pay as little as GH¢150, to acquire the certified documents, which should not be the case.
The documentary also revealed a total of ¢411,760 meant for the state, were diverted into private accounts of some staff of the Registry in the Upper West, Western and Eastern Regions.
These included funds meant for registration of childbirths in deprived communities as well as revenue collected by staff of the Registry between 2015 and 2016.
Watch the full Hotline Documentary with video: Paper Citizen
Explaining measures that have been instituted to check the unbridled rot at the Registry, Rev. Addo said in the interim, all staff have been instructed to display their identity tags within the premises.
According to him, most of the people captured in the documentary were not staff of the Registry. These are people who mostly acted as middlemen and take money from people, he indicated.
He also explained measures have been put in place including engaging the services of the security agencies, to flush out middlemen from the system.
“We actually have put in place some measures to ensure that at least staff are properly identified on the premises…and we encourage the staff to deal with our staff when they visit our premises,” Rev. Addo urged the public.
However, the Registrar has expressed concern about the unsecured nature of the headquarters which he said, makes it easy for people to interact with their staff without having to go through the necessary security screening.
He said, they have managed to get assistance from the security agencies “to ward off intruders from our premises” while entreating members of the public to deal only with authorised persons of the Registry.