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General News of Friday, 13 September 2019


Australia visa scandal report: How a carpenter, farmer & hairdresser posed as journalists

File: Only 2 out of some 12 deported 'journalists' in the scandal were genuine journalists File: Only 2 out of some 12 deported 'journalists' in the scandal were genuine journalists

An investigation conducted by the Police CID into the deportation of some Ghanaian “journalists” from Australia claiming to cover the 2018 Commonwealth Games has shockingly revealed how a farmer, carpenter, hairdresser, and a spare parts dealer posed as journalists and succeeded in acquiring visas, ABC News can authoritatively report.

A CID Report, exclusive to ABC News has revealed that out of 12 deported “journalists” who were probed by the CID, only two were genuine journalists with the remaining 10 having nothing to do with journalism.

The fake journalists, as captured in the report, are: Nana Amoah Poku Mensah, spare parts dealer, Ransford Baffour, petty trader, Kwabena Kyere, carpenter, Ndaa Abdul-Malik, car dealer, Lydia Boateng, a Marketing and Purchasing Manager, Musah Jahil Macro, businessman, Mohammed Shafiu Adamu, farmer, Augustina Agyekumwaa, sales girl, and Dorothy Agyekum, beautician.

The report revealed that some of the aforementioned individuals claimed to have paid sums as high as $6,000 to their respective agents to secure visas to Australia.

According to the report, only Isaac Ofori, a journalist with Angel FM, and Eric Manu, a cameraman with Captivating Ghana Sports Newspaper, were genuine journalists, but were equally deported after failing to convince the Australian authorities that they were journalists.

The report added that one Husseini Akwetteh Addy, an Administrative Officer with the Ghana Olympic Committee in charge of the Media, was not repatriated on the grounds that he was a journalist.

“He was asked to leave the Games Village together with Christiana Ashley after some Ghanaians were arrested and detained in Australia on the basis that they had illegally included names of unqualified persons in the final list and had made them to travel to Gold Coast as part of the official government delegation.” excerpts of the 14-page report explained.

Kwabena Kyere, a carpenter residing at Moshie Zongo in Kumasi, upon interrogation by the CID stated that he was assisted by one Kojo Owusu to travel to Australia, posing as a journalist to cover the Commonwealth Games.

“On his arrival, he was accosted by the Customs and Border Patrols Officials and he showed them his camera indicating that he was a cameraman but he was told that the camera was the digital type which was not suitable for covering the games. He could not also prove where he was to lodge. He also had only US$800 on him. He was told he needed between US$5,000 and US$10,000 to be able to stay at the Games Village. He was therefore deported for lack of adequate funds and faking as a photo journalist,” the reports stated.

Mohammed Shafiu Adamu, an Nkawkaw based farmer on the other hand, claimed that he was assisted by one Prince to obtain a visa to Australia after paying a fee of $5,000 to the latter.

The two of them then left Accra for Australia on 1st April 2018 and arrived on 3rd April, 2018. They were both arrested by the Australian Border Patrol Unit before being separated. He was further interrogated and detained overnight because he was unable to convince the authorities that he was indeed a cameraman. He was deported to Ghana and has since not seen Prince,” the CID explained.

In 2018, Australian Border Force (ABF) cancelled the visas of several dozen travelers from a variety of countries, including Ghana, who attempted to travel to Australia posing illegitimately as journalists, athletes or officials.

Some of the Ghanaian deportees were said to have traveled to the country in the guise as journalists to cover 2018 Commonwealth Games held in Gold Coast, Australia.

However, officials of the Australian Border Force were reportedly not convinced about their reasons for traveling to the country or their claims of being journalists.

Consequently, President Akufo-Addo suspended Pius Enam Hadzide, then the deputy Sports Minister, and other Officials of the Sports Authority over their alleged involvement in the scandal and commissioned the CID to probe the matter.