General News of Sat, 30 Sep 20170
Some of my staff are in bed with ‘goro boys’ – Director of Passports
The Director of Passports, Emmanuel Enos, believes some of his staff are collaborating with some middlemen, popularly known as ‘goro boys”, to take advantage of unsuspecting passport applicants by extorting money from them with an assurance to secure them passports within the shortest possible time.
The director also expressed worry over the practice by some applicants who allowed other people, including these same ‘goro boys’, to complete their application forms for them, noting that some of the information contained on such forms turned out to be wrong, leaving most passports lying on the shelves uncollected.
Consequently, he said, his outfit was working in collaboration with other stakeholders to deal with them, and advised the public against patronising their services.
He also said plans were far advanced to open Passport Application Centres (PACs) in Cape Coast, Wa, Bolgatanga, and Koforidua to reduce pressure on the other six regional capitals.
The online system, which was only being piloted in Accra, he announced, currently has no backlogs of passport processing, thus applications are processed immediately once received.
Enos further disclosed that the online passport application process, after some technical challenges regarding the payment platform and other teething issues encountered during its piloting, currently processes and prints about 300 passports on daily basis.
The online passport application process, according to him, is the most convenient way of applying for a passport, and urged all applicants to opt for that.
He said backlog of about 6,000 applications as of January 2017 had been cleared due to the purchases of new printers and said efforts were being made to make the processes faster.
At a media briefing to update reporters on passport acquisition processes, including online application, Mr Enos said the days when ‘goro boys’ flooded the premises of the Passport Office were no more, but added that those boys had now taken their ‘business’ to regional passport application centres.
Media practitioners were taken on a tour of the two passport application centres in Accra – the Ridge Office and the Accra Passport Application Centre (PAC) - to enable them to appreciate the improvement in the passport application process.
The congested premises witnessed in the past at the Ridge Passport Office were minimised when the reporters got there.
The prevailing sanity at the office had impacted positively on the day-to-day business at the Ridge Office, giving officials the peace of mind to concentrate and work on applications expeditiously.
Enos, who was accompanied by the Director at the Accra PAC, Mr Samuel Ofosu-Boateng, led the media to the online application centre, where applicants were going through the process smoothly.