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US withdraws visa privileges for former Ghanaian presidents, MPs

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Former Ghana presidents, serving lawmakers and senior government officials no longer have special privileges for private travel to the United States.

Such individuals had been able to take advantage of “protocol services” where they did not have to physically appear at the US embassy to obtain a visa.

But on Thursday, US Ambassador, Robert Jackson told members of parliament that the process had changed.

“If you are travelling for tourism or business that is not related to government business, you will be required to make a personal appearance, even with former presidents. There are no exceptions,” New York Times quoted him.

The withdrawal of protocol privileges comes two months after Britain’s top diplomat in Accra accused three MPs and a former lawmaker of visa fraud in a letter to the Ghana’s parliament, raising the prospect of a travel ban.

The allegations included visa overstays for family members, in some cases for several years, after they used diplomatic channels for travel on non-official business.

Britain’s outgoing High Commissioner, Jon Benjamin, said MPs wanting to make private visits now had to apply “like any other applicant”.

It was not clear what prompted the US ban but it is understood all foreign missions were aware of the British investigation into visa irregularities involving MPs.


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