Feature Article of Tuesday, 7 February 2012

Columnist: Yawson, Robert M.

Open Letter to the Minister of Foreign Affairs

The Hon. Mumuni
Ministry of Foreign Affairs
Accra, Ghana

February 6, 2012

Dear Sir,

An Open Letter to the Minister of Foreign Affairs on the Confiscation of my passport by the Embassy of Ghana in Washington

I am writing this open letter to you on the above subject, and hoping that you will use your good office to address this issue on my behalf.

Readers may recall an issue about my passport with the Ghana Embassy in Washington and the subsequent articles in both the print and the electronic media. Please refer to my earlier article at the following link: http://opinion.myjoyonline.com/pages/feature/201006/47236.php with the title, “Re: Passport racketeering at the Ghana Embassy in the U.S.”

I mailed my passport with active visas in it to the embassy and the passport was purported to have never been received at the Embassy although, the package was received with all the other contents. The Embassy subsequently issued a new passport to me, but as it was, I could not travel out of the United States, since I had no visas.

Fortunately, sometime around April last year, I was honored with a call from H.E. Ohene Agyekum, the Ambassador, informing me that my passport has been found and that it was sent to the Embassy from the U.S. State Department among a number of other Ghanaian passports that were reported lost. The Ambassador, explained that he made the call to me himself to express his disappointment with my media accusation of impropriety by the Embassy bringing the name of the Embassy into disrepute and that I should write back to the media to exonerate the embassy from any wrongdoing before my passport will be mailed to me. I explained to him that (1) I did not accuse the Embassy of any wrongdoing, I only explained how my passport got missing after mailing it to the Embassy (2) Until I receive my passport and examine it to see that everything is intact, I cannot make any further comments on my passport. (3) It is not my duty to do any PR work for the Embassy.

To date, I have not received my old passport from the Embassy. I have made more than 5 dozen calls to the embassy and it has not been possible to speak to the Ambassador again. After several calls to the Ambassador’s office, the Personal Secretary informed me that the Ambassador has directed that I deal directly with one Mr. Opecku and I was provided with his number and extension. After, over two dozen calls all being answered by automated machine, I was finally able to speak to Mr. Opecku sometime in the 1st week of January this year and he reiterated the same issues the ambassador first spoke to me about. I made my position clear and explained to him that all I needed was my passport. He then said that he cannot take any decision on the issue and that he would confer with the Ambassador and get back to me in a week. Since then I have not heard from him and all my calls have gone unanswered. Even if I used the main line to the Embassy, after having to wait on the line for God knows when, and the call is finally directed, it goes unanswered.

I have therefore, decided to send this open letter to you, the Hon. Minister of Foreign Affairs, to request that the Embassy in Washington release my passport to me. It is amazing that as a Ghanaian in a foreign land I should be frustrated by the very entity that is supposed to look out for my welfare. I also do not understand why the Ambassador and the Embassy should confiscate my passport. It is time these ineptitude, insensitivity, and irresponsibility are curtailed. I hope sir that, you will respond to my request

God bless our homeland Ghana!!!

Robert M. Yawson

CC: The Ambassador, Embassy of Ghana, Washington, DC
Mass Media, Ghana & U.S.
Chief of staff, Office of the President of Ghana, Osu, Ghana
Consular Lost/Stolen Passport Section, U.S. Department of State, Washington, DC