The Office of National Security will now take charge of the case involving the over 50 Ghanaians who have either been, or are facing, deportation by the Australian government.
This is according to a statement from the Sports Ministry.
In a story that has slighted Ghana since it broke a week ago, persons said to be posing as Ghanaian journalists were identified by officials at Australia's airports and processed for deportation. The Australian government says all the people had the right accreditation, but investigations hinted that impersonation could be at play.
“The Ministry has officially requested the National Security to thoroughly investigate circumstances leading to the acquisition of visas by underserving persons who are in no way connected with the ongoing 21st Commonwealth Games in Australia,” a statement from the Ministry said.
In a related development, two officials on the Ghana Olympic Committee (GOC) have been suspended, although they remain with the national contingent in Australia. Hussein Addy and Christine Ashley are said to have had a certain level of involvement in the acquisition of visas by persons who have, in recent days, admitted that they were not journalists as their accreditations suggested.
The first batch of deportees arrived in Ghana on April 3.
Some of the deported persons have actually told the media that they paid cash amounting to several thousands of dollars to get the paperwork facilitated by officials of the GOC.
Meanwhile, the Ghana Journalists Association also issued a statement earlier in the week distancing its membership from this sordid story, emphasing that authorities needed to get to the bottom of the matter to salvage the profession's reputation.
Joy News understands two Kumasi-based journalists were also affected by the deportation simply because they were on the same flight as the rest of the 'fake journalists'.
On Thursday, a statement from the Australian High Commission in Ghana shed more light on the matter: "The Australian Border Force (ABF) has cancelled the visas of several dozen travellers from a variety of countries, including Ghana, who attempted to travel to Australia posing illegitimately as journalists, athletes or officials."
The statement from the Sports Ministry reads:
MALPRACTICES IN CONNECTION WITH GHANA’S PREPARATION IN THE 21ST COMMONWEALTH GAMES
MINISTRY OF YOUTH AND SPORTS REFERS MATTER TO NATIONAL SECURITY
The Ministry has officially requested the National Security to thoroughly investigate circumstances leading to the acquisition of visas by underserving persons who are in no way connected with the ongoing 21st Commonwealth Games in Australia.
This follows some inappropriate actions by some individuals which have led to some Ghanaians being denied the necessary courtesies when travelling to Australia in connection with the Commonwealth Games.
The Ministry believes the National Security has the capacity to unravel the truth surrounding the unpleasant situation Ghana finds herself among the comity of sporting nations.
HON. ISAAC KWAME ASIAMAH
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