The Consumer Protection Agency (CPC) has stated that the practice of detaining passengers on arrival at the Kotoka International Airport due to their inability to pay the US$150 flat fee for PCR test to ascertain their Coronavirus status is illegal and must stop immediately.
According to CPC, a body with the obligation to ensure that the rights of consumers and individuals are respected in all sectors of the Ghanaian economy, it has come to their notice that certain Ghanaian citizens who lived abroad or visited abroad and wanted to come back to Ghana, are held at Kotoka against their will and the laws of Ghana.
Chief Executive Officer of CPC, Kofi Kapito, reiterated the agency’s position that there is no law in Ghana that enjoins the Ghana authorities to hold a citizen of Ghana at the airport for non-payment of a service.
“What is happening to those citizens of Ghana at the airports is unlawful, tantamount to kidnapping, infringement on rights of freedom of movement and false imprisonment. We advise the Ghanaian authorities who are involved in this activity to desist forthwith otherwise otherwise take legal action against them for abuse of power,” he stated.
It will be recalled back in August when the President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo announced that the country’s air borders would be opened on September 1, 2020, that he emphasised that every passenger who arrives in Ghana must possess proof of a negative COVID-19 PCR test and will undergo another test here on arrival.
This, CPC explained that they are not against but Ghanaian citizens whose tax was used to build the port and developed the country should be given different options to pay the money.
“These are Ghanaian citizens holding Ghana passport, so it is up to the authorities to arrange as to how the payment can be made. If possible, run the test on them, seize the passport and let them go home, giving them a period of time within which they must pay the money to get their passport back.
And we all know that without their passport they cannot travel again so they will surely come back to pay but aside that, they cannot be detained against their will, it is illegal,” he emphasised.
Furthermore, he notified that in September just after the lifting of the ban on airports to operate, the country used taxpayers’ money to bring back stranded Ghanaian migrants in Libya back to country for free, therefore, detaining other Ghanaian citizens for non-payment of PCR test is wrong and cannot be accepted.