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General News of Monday, 25 March 2019


Official collusion: Nigerians, Ivoirians, others get Ghana birth certs cheaply

Joy News investigations have revealed officials of the births and deaths registry are illegally issuing birth certificates to foreigners to help them acquire Ghanaian passports.

Ivoirians, Cameroonians and Nigerians, who are the main beneficiaries of the criminal dealings, pay as little as GH¢150, to acquire the certified documents.

A birth certificate is a document an individual can present to assert their right to citizenship. According to UNICEF, without a birth certificate, an individual does not officially exist and therefore lacks the legal access to the privileges and protections of a nation.

This means if foreign nationals have Ghanaian birth certificates in their possession, it grants them permission to access healthcare, education and social services at the disposal of citizens.

In the latest hotline documentary titled “Paper Citizens” investigative journalist, Kwetey Nartey unearthed the underhand dealings at the Births and Deaths Registry in which some officials of the Births and Deaths Registry collect these unapproved fees from the public.

Unfortunately, these monies do not end up in the state coffers but in private pockets.

Birth is expected to be registered for free. Late registration attracts a processing and penalty charge of GH¢50. Particular search in the register of births and deaths registry is GH¢5. But, Charles, a tall young man wearing a strapped violet short-sleeved shirt charges GH¢100 for “an executive search.”

He charged the undercover journalist an additional GH¢150 for a new birth certificate and added that he was going to depend on his network in other district offices like Ledzokuku to do it for him. He charged over 200% more than what the Registry prescribes to be charged.

Another staff who gave his name as Emma, charges GH¢80 for birth certificates in cases where applicants were born in other regions. The investigative team was not provided with a receipt for this service despite several requests.

In 2004, the financial administration regulation requires all heads of government institutions that generate revenue to charge prescribed fees for services performed. The 2016 Report of the Auditor General’s, which was released last year, found the registrar of the birth and death registry in Suhum charging unapproved fees.