Ghana Immigration Corruption

For once I have to be honest.

I hate going to Ghana.
I hate the whole Ghana experience.
I just want to vomit hearing the name Ghana.

This morning I was crossing the south west border between Togo and Ghana.

And, what did I saw?

Ghana immigration officers running after travellers in the bush, while it was raining. They arrested about 7 people and brought them to their office.

Strangely, they noticed they all have their passports, I’d cards, and two of them were with visa in their passport.

Why are these travelers with documents and visa are still trying to cross the border through the dense bushes during a tropical rain?

The reason is simple. The Ghana immigration officers at the Aflao border are too much harassing everyone for money. They have declared war on travelers.

Even when you have all your valid documents and visa they still ask you money. If you happen to look like a ‘wealthy’ person, they’d just block you at the border as long as possible and ask exorbitant money.

Two years ago, they assaulted me and put me in a cage for about 30mn, just because I protested and refused to pay the bribe.

This morning, they stopped me for one hour tough I have my documents valid. They asked for an amount of money that I gave, but they raised it up, when I was handing them the money, as I was looking like a wealthy guy, tough I tried my best to look the most humble possible.

I spent full 30mn begging them to let me go but they refused. I ended up topping the money, and the reluctantly stamped my passport, and let me go after one hour.

They said the reason they asked me the money was because I exited illegally the country a year ago. That was not true.

I learned that they use a scheme which is to intentionally avoid stamping exit for travelers in order to charge penalties the next time you got to the border. That seems true because two other people were stopped for the same reasons and they said the presented their passport at exit but we’re not stamped.

I heard so many horror stories about the Ghanaian immigration officers at the Aflao border.

This evening when I was heading back home, I asked the immigration officer to stamp exit on my document. He refused and ask for 10 cedis before doing that. I said I don’t have the money. They ignored me for 10 mn while asking just for the money.

I asked them if they want me to exit illegally. They said exiting illegally is a crime, punished by a 100 cedis fee.

I exited illegally.

I just wish never to go back to Ghana.

Corruption is so pervasive and official. It does not look like isolated officers doing this. It seems organized top down.

A majority of people now cross the Aflao Togo Ghana border through the bushes, trying to escape the harassing immigration officers.

I took taxi with a business man from Bénin. He does multi-million dollars trade with a Ghanaian company. He too crossed the border illegally through the bushes on a moto-taxi. The Reason is simple : to avoid the constant harassment by the immigration officers.

This business man can’t even take his beninese car to Ghana. He would have to spend 3 hours just for the border officers to check his papers and once on the road, the endless police control would rob him of money, but mostly time.

One thing, I’ve learned, the traffic police do to foreign cars is to often falsely accuse the drivers of over-speeding, in order to seize their car documents and demand very high bribes.

From all friends experience, it’s really a pain to travel Togo Ghana border at Aflao, let alone with a foreign car.

A guy told me they took last week 120 dollars from an American tough he got his documents and visa in order.

If Ghana was a company, I’ll never do business with it again.

Personally, I’ll not even plan for tourism there. Why spend my money in a country where foreigners are unwelcome and harassed constantly.

Corruption seems to be reaching a genetic level in Ghana, specially in the public services.

My border horror stories and experience ended up painting in my mind a very negative image of Ghana.

I won’t recommend Ghana as a friendly country for other Africans to visit.

PS: last year the immigration officers proposed me money to abandon my case in court against the officer who assaulted me. I refused. The ended up proposing the money to the people in charge of the case. The officer was moved into another city, the case idled.

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About Mawuna KOUTONIN

Mawuna Koutonin is a world peace activist who relentlessly works to empower people to express their full potential and pursue their dreams, regardless of their background. He is the Editior of SiliconAfrica.com, Founder of Goodbuzz.net, and Social activist for Africa Renaissance. Koutonin’s ultimate dream is to open a world-class human potential development school in Africa in 2017. If you are interested in learning more about this venture or Koutonin’s other projects, you can reach him directly by emailing at mk@linkcrafter.com.

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