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General News Thu, 30 Jun 2005

Passport Office to adopt new system from October

Accra, June 30, GNA - From October this year, the Passport Office would begin the issue of new passports based on the biometric system in which the thumb prints of applicants would be stored in a database for easy reference. The move is to ensure that the passports are made secure and free from duplication.

Mr Kwesi Quartey, Director of Passport, who speaking to Dr Paa Kwesi Nduom, Minister of Public Sector Reforms, when he paid familiarisation visit to the Office, said when the programme came on stream passports would be issued in five days. Mr Quartey said everything was running smoothly and that the Office had no backlog of passports that had not been issued. As at May this year the Passport Office had issued 88,625 passports to applicants.

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Mr Quartey said the only problem confronting quick issuance of passports was fake birth certificates and fake receipts. He said the Passport Office also audited the passport forms according to serial numbers to ensure that what the officers had issued conformed to the numbers they had been given to forestall forgery. Mr Quartey urged Ghanaians to regard the passport as an important national document, saying if they did so they would be less inclined to help other nationals to acquire it.

Dr Nduom asked the Director to consider introducing a special service for those who required passports urgently for a premium fee. This, he said, would wipe out unscrupulous passport contractors and allow the Office to make more money. Dr Nduom also asked the Office to think of making available forms on line so that applicants could submit their data through the Internet to be processed.

Source: GNA
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