Authorities at the Passport Office are to wage a relentless war against ‘goro’ boys who parade themselves as ‘passport contractors’ on the premises of the office.
In line with that, the office will conduct random swoops on the premises.
The premises of the Passport Office have been inundated by passport applicants who, in their desperation for passports, contract people who seemingly work in league with some officials of the office to facilitate the acquisition of the passports.
But the Director of Passports, Mr Alexander Grant Ntrakwa, on assumption of office last August, served notice of his intention to clean the image of the office by putting a stop to the unnecessary stampede that often accompanied the demand for passports.
Apprising the Daily Graphic of the changing face of the Passport Office, Mr Ntrakwa said he was not an ‘armchair’ director who operated in the comfort of his office but that he was always on the move to ensure the maintenance of professional standards.
He said the office was working hard to clear the huge backlog of passports and recalled that he took office at a time when there were about 25,000 passports outstanding.
He said so far a significant number of the passports had been cleared.
In the last few weeks, the Passport Office has been faced with the challenge of having to print a substantial number of passport booklets to meet demands due to a breakdown of machines.
That situation causes stampede at the precincts of the office because applicants who are given dates to come for their passports get there disappointed, as they are told to return on another date because passports could not get printed.
Explaining the difficulty the office was facing, Mr Ntrakwa said it had to rely on just two machines to print passport booklets because the others had broken down.
But he was quick to add that more machines were being installed to speed up the process.
“Before the Easter break, a professional was contracted from Germany to configure the machines, as well as input data into it,” he explained.
Some passport applicants told the Daily Graphic that they had to part with money before their applications were expeditiously processed.
One of the applicants, who gave his name only as Kofi, said he had to part with GH¢1,500 before he had his passport.
Responding to the allegations, Mr Ntrakwa challenged the applicants making those claims to identify the official(s) who demanded money from them and dismissed the allegations.
He gave an assurance that with the new machines in place, the office would be in a position to issue passports timeously.
Source: Graphic Online