The Ghana Police Service has arrested five (5) persons for allegedly engaging in various registration offences and malpractices during the mass registration exercise being conducted in the Ashanti Region by the National Identification Authority (NIA).
The arrests, which occurred between 3rd and 6th January 2020, were the result of collaboration between NIA and some aggrieved citizens in the Ashanti Region who provided to NIA relevant incriminating evidence on the conduct of the suspects and also identified them to the Police. Four (4) of the persons are NIA Registration Officials, while one is not. Below are their identities:
1. Kenneth Sarfo Boateng – Commissioner for Oaths (CFO), Church of Christ Registration Centre, Nyinampong, Asante-Mampong
2. Ransford Omane Osei – Mobile Registration Workstation Operator (MRWO), Ampaabame Registration Centre near Ejisu;
3. De-graft Osei Mensah – Supervising Registration Officer (SRO), Kentinkrono M/A Primary School Registration Centre at KNUST;
4. Emmanuel Edusei Poku – District Registration Supervisor (DRS) Kentinkrono M/A Primary School Registration Centre at KNUST; and
5. Kwabena Dan – a resident of Nyinampong.
All the suspects have been granted Police enquiry bail and will be assisting the Police in investigations.
Meanwhile, the Management of NIA is satisfied, following administrative procedures, that the conduct of its aforesaid registration officials is in breach of the relevant provisions of the Public Service Code of Conduct. Management has further determined the said conduct also constitutes an egregious violation of applicable internal rules and regulations governing the conduct of NIA registration officials.
Accordingly, the Executive Secretary has directed the immediate dismissal of the said officials.
In a press release, the NIA expressed appreciation to the public-spirited efforts of those residents of the Ashanti Region, including an investigative journalist at Kumasi-based Abusua FM and another journalist at The Chronicle newspaper whose vigilance, sacrifice and commitment to good citizenship enabled NIA and the Ghana Police to collaboratively pursue the measures that resulted in the arrest of the said persons.
The NIA urged the general public to emulate the patriotism and high citizenship demonstrated by the informants by exposing with credible evidence acts of suspected corruption in the Ghana Card registration process across the country, particularly in the Ashanti region where the exercise is currently underway.
The success of the mass registration exercise will ultimately depend on the level of vigilance and co-operation NIA enjoys from the general public, especially in managing queues, reporting acts of criminality and irresponsibility, and providing evidence that will trigger effective investigation and/or support effective prosecution.
The NIA wishes to use this opportunity to assert the following for the information of the general public:
1. Any registration outside a designated/gazetted registration centre constitutes an offense;
2. No registration (form filling or biometric data capture) is permitted beyond 5pm;
3. Registration for the Ghana Card at a mass registration centre or an NIA Office or other designated premises is free of charge to every Ghanaian citizen who registers for the Ghana card for the first time. This excludes premium and institutional registrations as governed by the Fees and Charges Act;
4. Any claim that an NIA registration centre has run out of registration materials such as Registration Form or Oath of Identity Form can only be false as several million forms have been printed and adequate supply-chain management arrangements made to ensure stock is never depleted before being replenished. Any claim that “forms are finished” is only a hoax designed to create artificial shortage to aid the enterprise of extorting monies from applicants.
5. No person is allowed to carry away from a registration centre a blank or completed Registration Form or Oath of Identity Form, unless the entire registration process is complete and the Ghana Card issued to the applicant or only the issuance of the card remains.
The release stated that: “The NIA is proud of the conduct of the majority of its staff who are law-abiding and performing their registration duties in a manner that is above reproach. NIA wishes to encourage all such officials to maintain their high performance and to report their few colleagues whose conduct is creating pain and hardship for the citizenry, marring the registration exercise, and undermining public confidence and trust in the NIA and Government.”