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COVID-19 testing on travellers to and from Ghana has become a swindling business for Ghana government

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Wed, 22 Dec 2021 Source: Rockson Adofo

For how long will Ghanaian officials continue to be untrustworthy in the positions they are put in? There is no public or private department in Ghana that those put in charge do not seek to swindle people.

Since the worldwide breaking out of COVID-19, thus, pandemic, there have been reported incidents of those designated by the government to test both the outgoing and incoming travellers from and to Ghana respectively, duping some travellers.

The first one to become public knowledge about which I published two articles on Ghanaweb.com, Modernghana.com and Breakingnewsgh.com, had to do with Noguchi. A Ghanaian male travelling to the United Kingdom placed on social media, especially WhatsApp, how he had been duped by a staff member of Noguchi. He alleged he had initially been handed a positive test result to Covid-19, conducted at Noguchi.

Someone from Noguchi then contacted him on the phone to come back and pay him five hundred Cedis (Ghc500), thus, 5 million old Cedis, to be reissued a certificate of the negative test result. He did because he was eager to travel that night to London.

However, on arrival in London, he went for the government-sanctioned free National Health Service (NHS) PCR Covid-19 test the next day. Within 24 hours, he had the result sent to him on his mobile phone showing a negative result.

My own elder sister faced a similar situation where the intermediary could be the one intending to dupe her but his pranks on my sister never succeeded.

On Monday, 20 December 2021, I put out a publication on my usual Ghana internet news portal about a husband in London whose wife was swindled Ghc1,000 at the Kotoka International Airport (KIA). She was told to have tested positive to Covid-19. However, the officer or doctor disclosing the test results to her asked for a bribe of Ghc1,000 to change it to negative. The woman had no option but to comply, according to her husband.

Today, Tuesday, 21 December 2021, I have become aware of the attached video on how some travellers quarantined in a hotel in Accra following their alleged positive test to COVID-19, are complaining bitterly about being duped by the Ghanaian officials overseeing the control of the spread of Covid-19 in Ghana.

In the video, they claim to have tested negative during their quarantine but other doctors or officials do come along later to tell them they are still testing positive.

From all the instances cited above including many that I may not be aware of, there is a greater probability that something fishy is going on. Those designated to check against the transmission and spread of COVID-19 in Ghana by foreign travellers are not being honest. Surely, some are using it to enrich themselves as usual, corrupt as most Ghanaian officials are.

They are exploiting the people by playing the card of “you have tested positive”, and in the next moment, will say “you have tested negative” after he/she has arranged bribe payment with you.

How I hope the president and his government would take time to investigate these reported instances of corruption with regard to the test conducted on foreign travellers or arrivals at the airport and the designated quarantine locations.

Could it not be true if people suspected that the government or some officials are into business with some hotel owners hence ensuring they keep such hotels running by declaring many travellers as COVID-19 positive patients, only to dispatch them to such hotels like a herd of cattle? The patients pay anything between US$100 to US$200 a night for about seven to ten or fourteen days.

This is very shameful of the Ghana government and its colluding corrupt officials.

As the buck always stops with the leader in any undertaking that goes sour, so will this suspected corruption in the COVID-19 testing be blamed on the president and his government. If they knew nothing about it, they may have long ago conducted investigations into the numerously reported allegations of corruption to put a stop to it.

Shame on Ghana for exploiting COVID-19 to enrich some corrupt officials. Ghana should rather be sympathising with those infected with Covid-19 than to be dubiously making money out of them. Is the government that desperate?

The more the government does nothing, the more the corrupt officials will be emboldened to keep on duping travellers with impunity.

To avoid the nonsensically shameless corruption associated with COVID-19 testing, I suggest the laboratory procedure for testing the collected antigen or swab or saliva, must be done in an open space in a glass enclosure where the person being tested may have the opportunity to see exactly what is being done and the ultimate result.

Ghanaian officials are constantly becoming too corrupt to be credible and trustworthy. Let the laws work 24/7 to put an end to the Ghanaian officials’ infatuation with corrupt practices.

With all these reported cases, I hope the president will no longer continue to bury his head in the sand like an ostrich as if nothing untoward is happening.

Columnist: Rockson Adofo
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