Immigration Service refutes 'harassment' claims by Indian businessman
The Ghana Immigration Service (GIS) has refuted claims by an Indian businessman, Mr Ashok Kumar Sivaram, who was deported from Ghana in June 2017, that the service was bent on destroying his business in the country.
Mr Sivaram made headlines last week when he petitioned President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, alleging that the Minister of the Interior, Mr Ambrose Dery; the Comptroller-General of the GIS, Mr Kwame Takyi, and the Deputy Comptroller-General in charge of Operations, Mr Laud Affrifah, wanted to deport him at all cost.
He accused Mr Dery, Mr Takyi and Mr Affrifah of harassing him and also using all means to deport him in order to allow his business partner, Sachin Nambeer, to take over his (Mr Sivaram’s) stakes in his company, Jai Mai Communications Limited, in Ghana.
But, in a statement reacting to the accusations, the GIS said neither Mr Dery nor the service had any interest in the feud between Mr Sivaram and his business partner, which is now a subject of litigation.
Prior to his deportation, the GIS said, it had no knowledge that Mr Sivaram was embroiled in any litigation with his business partner and as such the claim that he was deported to serve someone’s interest was false.
“It is instructive to note that prior to Mr Sivaram’s deportation for security reasons, neither the Minister for the Interior, Mr Ambrose Dery, nor the GIS had any knowledge of the suit between Sachin Nambeer and Ashok Kumar Sivaram regarding the business matters which are the subject of litigation in court,’’ it said.
Mr Sivaram was deported by the GIS on June 1, 2017, following an order by Mr Dery on the basis that he used a forged marriage certificate to support his application for citizenship.
Not happy with the deportation, lawyers for Mr Sivaram filed an application for judicial review by way of certiorari for the order to be nullified by the Accra High Court.
The court, presided over by Mr Justice Kweku T. Ackah-Boafo, on July 31, 2017 upheld Mr Sivaram’s application and quashed the deportation order.
It was the court’s view that the Interior Minister exceeded his jurisdiction when he determined that the businessman had engaged in fraud and subsequently deported him.
According to the court, the lawful procedure was for Mr Sivaram to have been put before a court of lawful jurisdiction for a case of fraud to be determined against him.
As a result of the court ruling, Mr Sivaram returned to the country on August 2, 2017 but was detained by officials of the GIS at the Kotoka International Airport (KIA).
Once again, lawyers for the businessman went to the Accra High Court and the court, on August 4, 2017, ordered Mr Sivaram’s immediate release, describing his detention as unlawful, a violation of his rights and an affront to justice.
The court, however, ordered the GIS to seize the businessman’s passport until August 8, 2017 and also ordered Mr Sivaram to report himself to the GIS before or on August 8, 2017.
It further ordered that after August 8, the GIS should give the businessman’s passport back to him if it found no ground for him to continuously report himself to the service and also allow Mr Sivaram to apply for a regularisation of his stay, in accordance with laid down procedure.
“Failure to appear’’
According to the GIS, Mr Sivaram had failed to avail himself to the GIS per the court order on August 8, despite several notices, including a letter to his lawyer, Mr Gary Nimako, on August 14, 2017.
Rather Mr Nimako, it said, had filled “a motion on notice, for mandamus to compel the minister and the Comptroller-General of Immigration to restore the applicant’s residence and work permit.”
“The Comptroller-General of Immigration, Mr Kwame Asuah Takyi, after persistent unsuccessful attempts to reach Mr Nimako on phone, wrote to him on August 14, 2017, inviting him to present his client to the Immigration Service in compliance with the court order to be examined as any other individual applying for status in the country.
“After serving this letter on him on August 14, 2017, Mr Nimako, surprisingly, on August 15, 2017, without fulfilling the court order, rather went ahead and served on us, that is, the Minister for the Interior and the Comptroller-General of Immigration (being the respondents) a motion on notice, for mandamus to compel the minister and the Comptroller-General of Immigration to restore the applicant’s residence and work permit,’’ it said.