The Passports Office says it will soon publish the names of some persons they claim have failed to pick up their processed passports although they’re ready for collection.
Amanor Daku Mante, the Director of the Office in an interview on the Citi Breakfast Show said the about 67,000 uncollected passports are for applicants they are not been able to reach to come for their passports mainly because some applied through middlemen popularly known as ‘goro boys’.
“We have over 67,000 passports which have been issued but not collected, why because most of the applicants don’t even use their correct addresses. They go through the normal way, through the middlemen and so you call them and you don’t get them. We have tried on a lot of occasions and we are not getting to them,” he said.
Mr. Daku Mante was saying this in response to genuine stories of people who have applied for passports and have not been able to receive them due to undue delays sometimes due to the shortage of passport booklets.
According to him, “very soon, I think this week, we are going to publish all the names of those uncollected passports.”
Mr. Daku Mante however revealed that his office has employed an IT service to enable it to send SMS alerts to passport applicants concerning the status of their application.
“We have put in an IT system that will alert anybody at all who applies for a passport,” he said.
Responding to complaints of persons who report of delays in receiving their passports after applying months earlier, he said the delay is as a result of such persons applying through middlemen, and that persons who apply directly to the office received their documents in time.
“People apply through the ‘goro people’ and these people will never tell them the truth. Normally, when you apply through the express which will cost you about GH¢ 100 cedis and the normal which will cost GH¢ 50 cedis, you should get your passport. People [can] go through the normal process, [but] they rather prefer to do it through the ‘goro people’ [and] that is where they get their frustration. People don’t even fill their forms rightly,” he said.
But many listeners of the Citi Breakfast Show challenged his claim saying there were genuine instances of thousands of people going through the right procedure but never received them on time until they paid bribes.
The New Patriotic Party (NPP) government has given indications that it intends to make the process of passport acquisition in Ghana easy and efficient, a departure from what can best be described as one of the most frustrating processes to go through in the country.
Despite promises by successive governments to improve the process, many Ghanaians are forced to pay bribes, pay exorbitant charges through middlemen popularly known as ‘goro boys’ or queue as early as 3:00am each day to have their passport applications processed especially at the Accra application center.
The forms for regular application currently goes for GHS 50, and are expected to be processed within 4 weeks, while the forms for express applications are being sold for GHS 100, and are expected to be processed within 2 weeks, although the duration may slightly vary.