The Speaker of Parliament, Rt. Hon. Prof. Aaron Michael Oquaye, is urging the public who have shown much interest in discussing the alleged UK visa by four Ghanaian MPs to be temperate in their language.
According to the Speaker, since Ghana and the UK have long standing good relations, it is only through diplomacy that issues such as the alleged visa fraud involving high ranking Ghanaian officials could be addressed amicably.
In much as the issue has generated much public interest, the Speaker wants it to be discussed at the highest level where diplomacy is the order of the day and not to resort to personality attacks.
A leaked document from the offices of the British High Commission in Ghana addressed to the Speaker, the Presidency and other high ranking offices, has cited three Ghanaian MPs and a former lawmaker for allegedly perpetrating visa fraud using their diplomatic passports.
They are said to have used an unauthorized person and their diplomatic passports to apply for visas for persons who travelled to the UK and failed to return as stipulated by their visas.
The alleged culprits are; Richard Acheampong, MP for Bia East in the Western Region, Joseph Benhazin Daha, MP for Ntotroso in the Brong Ahafo Region, Johnson Kwaku Adu, MP for Ahafo Ano South West in the Ashanti Region and George Boakye, former MP for Asunafo South also in the Brong Ahafo Region.
The accused have each been slapped with a 10-year travel ban to the UK by the British authorities.
Ever since the matter was leaked, a cross section of the public has resorted to social media to bastardize the British High Commissioner to Ghana, Jon Benjamin, who signed the document. He is also suspected to be the one behind the leaked document.
Some MPs who are incensed by the action of the British authorities have also slammed Jon Benjamin for allegedly leaking the document to the media. While some have accused him of having ‘colonial mentality’, others simply believe he is undiplomatic.
But the Speaker who is currently out of the country speaking through the Acting Director of Public Affairs, Parliament of Ghana, Kate Addo, on Friday, is urging all to be calm and rally behind their leaders to use diplomatic means to resolve the issue at hand.
“The intention is to deal with the matter at that level [diplomatic level] and the Speaker is not happy about the way things are going. He said it is unfortunate that the document was leaked in the manner that it was. However, while that has caused difficulties, he is still committed to working with the British authorities to ensure that the matter is brought to a close,” she noted.
According to Kate Addo, the Speaker wants all MPs to be temperate in their language.
He promises to put the matter to rest as soon as he returns from his travel since he is committed to maintaining diplomatic relations with all our partners.
Attempts to get the High Commission to respond to the matter have proved futile. Our sources say the Commission has not commented on the matter since the document was leaked because it is their policy not to comment on leaked materials.