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General News of Monday, 27 March 2006

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Minisiter Dupes Filipino Family

Ghana?s Deputy Minister of Trade and Industry, Mr. Kofi Osei-Ameyaw, is embroiled in immigration fraud in Australia.

A tribunal in New South Wales has found the member of parliament (MP) for Asuogyaman, guilty of improperly inducing a Filipino family to make an investment of $150,000.

According to the court documents, the family arrived in Sydney from the Philippines on 1 November 1999. They possessed three month tourist visas, which were due to expire in January 2000. In January 2000 their tourist visas were extended until 30 June 2000. The family consulted Mr. Osei/Caprock International Pty Limited/Caprock Immigration Consultants. There is an issue in this case as to the capacity in which Mr. Osei acted from time to time, and whether it was as a barrister or as a migration agent. However, the tribunal found that Mr. Osei used his position to ?swindle? the desperate family, with the promise of helping them get the necessary documents to live in Australia.

Mr. Osei, an ex-barrister, was found guilty of professional misconduct - improperly inducing a client to invest Funds, misleading a client and the Law Society/Bar Association/LSC and failing to advance and protect the interests of his client.

During the cause of the 'trial', the Ghana Consulate General, Sydney, asserted that Mr Osei "asserts and claims diplomatic immunity in respect of the proceedings in the Tribunal", but this was rejected because Osei had not been accredited to Australia as a diplomat.

When the matter came on for hearing on 15 August 2005 Mr Osei did not appear and the hearing proceeded in his absence.

Kofi Osei, as he was popularly known in Australia, was a Lawyer (has not renew his license) by profession and the first African to be admitted to the State of New South Wales (NSW) Bar. He has previously held the position of the President of the Ghanaian Association of New South Wales, as well as the President of the African Community Council.

Mr Osei-Ameyaw was appointed by President Kufuor as the Consul-General to Australia in 2002.

He controversially left that post (read), in 2004, to pursue a political career. He was accused of abandoning the office and eventually handing it over to his Australian friend.

Osei won the parliamentary seat of Asuogyaman on the ruling New Patriotic Party (NPP) ticket in the 2004 elections. He was subsequently appointed as one of three deputy ministers to the Trade Ministry.

Click here to read the details -CITATION: New South Wales Bar Association v Osei



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