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Visas of ‘fake’ journalists have been cancelled – Australian High Commission speaks

The Australian High Commission in Ghana has confirmed that ‘fake’ journalists who went for the ongoing Commonwealth Games from Ghana are due for deportation.

“The Australian Border Force (ABF) has cancelled the visas of several dozen travellers from a variety of countries, including Ghana, who attempted to travel to Australia posing illegitimately as journalists, athletes or officials,” the embassy said in a statement on Thursday.

Many Ghanaians were stunned when it emerged that about 50 persons who posed as Ghanaian journalists to cover the Commonwealth Games were flagged by Australian officials after they failed to provide concrete evidence that they were indeed journalists, although they have been issued with accreditation.

The Sports Ministries and Ghana Olympic Committee have both made strenuous efforts to absolve themselves from blame.

Meanwhile, Deputy Sports Minister Pius Hadzide  who is the Chairman of the Commonwealth Games Committee for Ghana has revealed on Citi FM that the beleaguered ‘journalists’ were endorsed by the Ghana Olympic Committee.

“I have spoken to the GOC, that is the Chef de Mission, on this matter, and their position is that they did not facilitate any such thing.

“However my checks from the Games organizers in Australia indicate that the when they receive these nominations, they seek clarification and validation from the GOC before they are allowed to travel.

“So as to whether someone was complicit or someone just didn’t do a good job we are still investigating,” Mr.  Hadzide said.

The Australian High Commission said the situation is “regrettable”. It has therefore maintained that one anyone wishing to enter Australia, including athletes, team officials and the media, must hold a valid visa and accreditation and must be deemed to be a legitimate visitor.

The statement said the Australian High Commission will continue to liaise with relevant Ghanaian authorities on the matter.

By Isaac Essel | 3news.com | Ghana

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