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Huge number of uncollected passports locked up at passport offices

Mr Emmanuel Enos, the Director of Passports, has urged all persons who had applied for Ghanaian passports to kindly go to the various passport offices to check and collect their completed documents.
He said there were over 10,000 processed passport booklets that had been left uncollected, of which the Ridge Passport Application Centre alone holds 4,000 of them.
He said as a result of this challenge, authorities at the Passport Office had initiated moves to publish the names of such applicants in the national dailies.
Mr Enos, who was addressing a press briefing in Accra to update reporters on passport acquisition processes, including the online application system, said it was worrying that many passport applicants who had their information partially captured for obvious reasons, failed to return to the Passport Office to complete those processes.
He said the situation had left many partially captured passport applications in the system, which had also become a cause for concern for the authorities to deal with.
He, however, blamed the problem on instances where those forms were often left in the hands of other people, including middlemen, also known as “Goro Boys,” to complete the process, but unfortunately some of the facts contained on such forms turned out to be wrong.
Mr Enos cited instances where officials had tried to make contacts with some applicants through telephone numbers they had entered on their forms only for the calls to go to wrong persons and, therefore, said it was important for individuals to fill the forms themselves to avoid such inconveniences.
He said the days when ‘goro boys’ flooded the premises of the Passport Office were no more adding that due to the vigilance in the Accra Passport offices, those activities had now been shifted to the regional passport application centres, which would also be severely dealt with.
Those middlemen, he explained, took advantage of unsuspecting passport applicants to extort huge monies from them, with the promise to secure them passports within the shortest possible time, and connived with some officials at the Passport office to perpetuate those acts.
Mr Enos said the passport acquisition process had been made very easy for applicants, with the introduction of the online system, which was the most convenient with a delivery period less than a week, compared to the manual which took 15 days.
He said the online application process began with purchasing a voucher from any of the designated banks for passport forms, which allowed an applicant to access the system through the online link www.passports.mfa.gov.gh, and were given the opportunity to select a date and time convenient for them to go to the office and have their pictures taken.
Mr Enos said the online system was currently being piloted in Accra and, if successful, would be rolled out throughout the country, adding that currently 300 online applications were processed daily.
He said at the moment, other passport application centres were located at Kumasi, Takoradi, Sunyani, Ho and Tamale, and plans were advanced to open similar centres in Koforidua, Cape Coast, Wa and Bolgatanga.
Journalists were later taken on a tour of the two centres in Accra; Ridge Office and the Accra Application Centre, also known as the (Accra PAC), to enable them to appreciate the improvement in the entire process.
The chaotic scenes that were often witnessed in the past at the Ridge Passport Office were completely absent, and some officials confirmed to reporters that the prevailing sanity at their office had impacted positively on the day-to-day business, giving them the peace of mind to swiftly work on applications.
The renovation at the Accra PAC and the sanity that prevailed were identical to that of the Ridge Office, as Mr Enos, accompanied by Mr Samuel Ofosu-Boateng, the Director of the Accra PAC, led the media to the online application centre where applicants were going through a smooth process.

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