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General News of Monday, 11 February 2008

Source: - Reggie Tagoe

Italian Embassy in Accra faces questions

Ghanaians in Italy are raising questions and wants answers about the Italian Embassy in Accra over authentication of documents.

The Consular Section of the Embassy responsible for authentication of documents have for over 4 months been closed down, the second time in a year. This is affecting some Ghanaians in Italy who are requesting for authentication of their marriage certifiate, police reports from Ghana among others in order to process other documents in Italy. The Italian law requires immigrants in the country who need to use these documents or similar to process other documents to have it authenticated at the Italian Embassy in their country of origin, within 6 months prior to application.

“It looks absurd”, sums one Ghanaian in Verona, “why should I ‘renew’ my marriage every 6 months before I can process a document,” he asked. Says another who lives in the city Reggio Emilia and wants his marriage certificate authenticated through a family friend in Ghana, “I have been waiting for months to have my marriage certificate authenticated at the Italian Embassy in Accra so I can apply for the permanent stay permit, ‘carta soggiorno’, for myself and my family but each time I’m being told the office has been closed till further notice, this is affecting us greatly since my staying permit has expired and to renew it they are requesting my marriage certificate, which was authenticated before my family joined me in Italy, be authenticated again from the Italian Embassy in Accra.”

Ghanaians who are about to apply for the Italian citizenship are expressing their discontentment about the slow process to authenticate their police report at the Embassy which they say would have it to be done all over again if not authenticated within 6 months from the date of issue.

There has not been any official explanation from the Embassy to the Ghanaian community in Italy but some believe the Embassy is working on a backlog of documents following the Italian ‘Flussi law’ which allowed foreign nationals to come and work in Italy and that has been responsible for its slow processing of authentication of other documents.

The Council of Ghanaian Nationals Association in Italy (COGNAI) says it will take up the matter by making enquiries so as to be in a position to explain the issue to the Ghanaian community in Italy. It said copy of its letter would be sent to the Ghana Embassy in Rome.

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