Africa  

Ghana suspends officials over Commonwealth visa debacle

(FILES) This file photo taken on May 5, 2017 shows Ghanaian President Nana Akufo-Addo speaking to the press after a meeting with his Ivory Coast counterpart at the presidential palace in Abidjan. After winning the elections Ghanaian President Nana Akufo-Addo promised to eliminate corruption and he is facing increasingly pressing demands coming from the streets to meet its commitments. In late May, hundreds of Ghanaians demonstrated in Accra in front of the anti-corruption agency, to demand the arrest and prosecutions of financial offenders. / AFP PHOTO / ISSOUF SANOGO

Ghana president Nana Akufo-Addo suspended two sports officials on Thursday following the arrest of 60 Ghanaians posing as journalists who tried to illegally enter Australia for the Commonwealth Games.

Pius Enam Hadzide, the deputy minister for youth and sports, and Robert Sarfo Mensah, the director general of the national sports authority, have been “suspended from office, with immediate effect”, said Ghana presidency spokesman Eugene Arhin in a statement.

“This decision has been taken following preliminary investigations conducted into the circumstances that led to the arrest of some sixty (60) Ghanaians, who had allegedly attempted to enter Australia by false pretences,” said Arhin, adding that three other officials have been called back from Australia to participate in the investigation.

The suspension comes after news broke that Australian authorities had deported dozens of Ghanaians pretending to be journalists.

In reaction to the suspension, Australia’s high commissioner to Ghana Andrew Barnes said “Australian border enforcement is quite strict and we don’t let people come to our country illegitimately.”

Akufo-Addo has vowed to crack down on corruption in Ghana, the world’s second-largest cocoa producer behind Ivory Coast.

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