Fake U.S. Embassy In Ghana Shut Down After Issuing Visas For decade

Authorities in Ghana have busted a fake U.S. embassy in the capital Accra, run by a criminal network that had issued visas illegally for one decade, the U.S. State Department said in a statement.

The statement noted that until its shutdown this summer, the sham embassy was housed in a run-down, pink two-storey building with a corrugated iron roof and flew a U.S. flag outside it.

It hung the portrait of U.S. President, Barack Obama, inside it.

The U.S. statement added that “it was not operated by the United States Government, but by figures from both Ghanaian and Turkish organised crime rings and a Ghanaian attorney practicing immigration and criminal law.”

Turkish citizens who spoke English and Dutch posed as consular officers and staffed the operation.

Investigations also uncovered a fake Dutch embassy, the State Department said.

Officials in the Netherlands were not immediately reachable for comment on Sunday.

The crime ring issued fraudulently obtained but legitimate U.S. visas and false identification documents, including birth certificates at a cost of 6,000 dollars each.

During raids that led to a number of arrests, authorities also seized authentic and counterfeit Indian, South African and Schengen Zone visas and 150 passports from 10 different countries, along with a laptop and smart phones.

The U.S. State Department statement, however, did not say how the gang obtained the authentic visas and did not say how many people were believed to have illegally entered the U.S. and other countries using visas issued by the crime ring.

“The criminals running the operation were able to pay off corrupt officials to look the other way, as well as obtain legitimate blank documents to be doctored,” the statement said.

There was no immediate comment from Ghana’s Criminal Investigations Division.

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Despite My Influence, I Need 38 Visas to Move Around Africa – Billionaire Businessman, Dangote

Billionaire businessman, Aliko Dangote has revealed that despite the size of his company and his investments on the continent, he needs 38 visas to travel across Africa.
Aliko Dangote
Speaking in an exclusive interview with CNBC Africa, billionaire businessman and Africa’s richest man, Alhaji Aliko Dangote, advised African leaders to give incentives to investors and make intra-Africa travel easy.
The Nigerian billionaire who owns the Dangote Group, which has interests in commodities, revealed that despite the size of his group and his investments on the continent, he still needs 38 visas to travel across Africa.
Alhaji Dangote who is worth $12.5 billion and is the richest man in Africa, according to Forbes, said adequate steps must be taken to address the issue in order for the continent to have a blossoming economy.
“Our leaders must give incentives. For example, little things like visa issuance. You go to a country that is looking for investment, that particular country will give you a run around just to get a visa.
“You have to know somebody who is big in that country to call somebody. They are giving you visas as if it is a favour.
“Somebody like me, despite the size of our group, I need 38 visas to move around Africa. Yes, I’ve heard that they are going to do the (African) passport, but you can see that there is still a little bit of resistance from other African leaders.
“Even countries like Rwanda and co, that say no visas for Africans, they are still having problems getting visas into other African countries, despite saying no need for visas for Africans coming in. They say, just come, we would give you on arrival,” he said.
He said intra-Africa trade is still very much on the downside, stating that Nigeria imports flour from Europe, whereas, the flour was exported to Europe from Kenya and Ethiopia.

Benin’s Move To Scrap Visas For Africans Lauded

A decision by Benin to allow Africans travelling to the west African country in without visas has been applauded by many social media users from across the world.

Earlier, Rwanda made a similar decision earlier in the year together with Ghana in a move meant to promote intra-Africa trade in line with Africa Union’s 2030 Agenda for “a continent with seamless borders” to ease movement.

“Keep on the good work. We will rule the world one day. Our time shall come,” tweeted Musa B. Wali, echoing Robaa, who added, “Yes that’s the Africa I want.”

In July, Namibian and Ghana also announced plans to introduce visa-on-arrival for African citizens.

‘‘Learning from Rwanda, I have decided that Benin will no longer require visas for other Africans,’‘ President Talon announced in Rwanda on August 30, 2016 while on a three day visit.

Such a move was necessary to promote tourism and south-south cooperation, Beninese Foreign Affairs Ministry statement said.

“My hope is that the cooperation between Benin and Rwanda could be emulated by other African countries”.

Presidents Kagame and Talon also announced enforcement of an airline agreement between the two countries beginning September 2,2016 to facilitate direct flights between Cotonou and Kigali.

President Talon arrived in Kigali on Monday with a delegation comprising of government officials and business people.