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General News of Friday, 19 April 2013

Source: Citi FM

Migrant smuggling could bring terrorists into Ghana

The Ghana Immigration Service (GIS) has warned that smuggled migrants, especially from Asia and the Middle East, could be a major security threat to the nation.

GIS says that an influx of migrants could put Ghana at risk from terrorists who illegally enter the country.

Migrant smuggling is the procurement of an illegal entry or illegal residence of a person, and into or in a country of which that person is not a national or permanent resident for financial or other material benefit.

The Assistant Director of GIS, Laud Ofori Afrifa, stated that the practice has been prevalent for a long time but is now assuming large proportions

According to him, people from South Eastern Asia and the Middle East are transiting through Ghana to Europe and America.

“Migrant smuggling is one of the ways criminal gangs send terrorist to other countries. They use these migrants also to smuggle drugs they use this same method to do money laundering," he said.

Mr. Afrifa noted that cases of foreigners intercepted in Ghana have been found using the country as a transit point is a dangerous issue.

The law on migrant smuggling was passed in June 2012 after Ghana had signed to some international conventions and protocols.

The laws seek to make harsher the punishment for engaging in migrant smuggling.

A person who engages in migrant smuggling commits an offence and is liable on conviction to a fine of not less than six hundred and twenty five penalty units and not more than one thousand, two hundred and fifty penalty units or to a term of imprisonment of not less than five years and not more than ten years or to both.

GIS says they are however hopeful that with this law, cases of migrant smuggling will be controlled as offenders will receive harsh punishment.