The Ghana Immigration Service (GIS) says it is stepping up its inspection and enforcement operations at hotels and living apartments across the country during the Easter festivities and called for cooperation from all stakeholders.
“This stepped-up operation is in line with various strategies lined up by the Service to ensure that the Easter holidays are free from criminal activities that are likely to mar the peace and safety of the citizenry,” the GIS said in a statement on Friday.
The statement, signed by Superintendent Michael Amoako-Atta, the Head of Public Affairs, and copied to the Ghana News Agency in Accra, reminded landlords and owners of living apartments of the requirement of Section 52 (1) (b) of the Immigration Act 573 that obliged them to ensure that all lodgers within their facilities were documented non-Ghanaians.
Section 52(1) (b) of the Act states that “a person who knowingly harbours any person whom he knows is to be deported or has reasonable grounds to believe has acted in contravention of this Act commits an offence and is liable on conviction to a fine not exceeding one thousand Ghana Cedis or imprisonment for a term not exceeding two years or both.”
“The Service wishes to reiterate its earlier call on landlords to demand proof of residence or legal stay and Immigration registration form would be non-Ghanaian tenants before entering into any tenancy agreement with them,” it noted.
The statement cautioned landlords and owners of properties that the obstruction or prevention of a GIS officer from carrying out his or her lawful duty was an offence under the Immigration Act.
It asked hoteliers and owners of residential apartments to keep appropriate data on all guests within their premises and make the same available to officers of the Service, who would be visiting their premises.
“Failure to provide such information is a breach of the Immigration laws and upon conviction two years imprisonment may be imposed,” the statement said.
“In line with this, transporters across the country, especially those within the border communities, are hereby warned to desist from conveying irregular migrants who enter the country through unapproved routes to various locations within the country.”
It said such acts were offences under the Immigration laws of Ghana and that any transporter caught would be dealt with.
Bus terminals and public transport stations, the statement said, would be closely monitored during the period.
It called on the public to cooperate with officers of the GIS by providing timely information on all suspicious movements of unknown persons within their communities.
“In line with its vision of delivering excellence in security and migration management for national development, the Service will not relent on its mandate to ensure that the territorial integrity of the country is protected and also support in ensuring a conducive internal security for the people of Ghana,” it said.