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Australia Visa Scandal: Report Clears Hadzide

A report by the Criminal Investigations Department (CID) of the Ghana Police Service has exonerated Deputy Information Minister, Pius Enam Hadzide of any wrongdoing in the visa racketeering scandal while he was Deputy Minister of Youth and Sports. 

The Ghana Immigration Service (GIS) petitioned the CID in a letter dated 12 April 2018 requesting a probe after 13 individuals were deported from Australia after they were discovered by the Australian Border Force to be non-journalists even though they had claimed to be so.

Mr Hadzide, who was implicated and accused of aiding the individuals to travel, was suspended by President Nana Akufo-Addo together with two other staff of the National Sports Authority (NSA) but was reinstated after the investigations.

The report was not made public, so, his exoneration sparked several accusations against the government.

Excerpts of the CID report available to ClassFMonline.com said on page 13 that: “…There was an allegation of the Deputy Minister of Youth and Sports, Honourable Pius Enam Hadzide facilitating the inclusion of several names into the Commonwealth Games accreditation system. Throughout the investigations, no person or persons interrogated ever mentioned his name as collecting monies from him to help him or them proceed to Gold Coast in Australia. 

“Again, one Patrick Ampadu was alleged to have collected a cash of twelve thousand United States ($12,000) dollars from one Maxwell on behalf of Honourable Hadzide but investigations established that the number alleged to be that of Patrick Ampadu when called was responded to by Christiana Duker, a front desk officer of the Ministry of Youth and Sports, who vehemently denied that she had collected any money from Maxwell for the Deputy Minister. The supposed Maxwell was called and, in his statement, also denied having paid any such money to the said Patrick Ampadu.”

There were allegations that the Minister of Sports, Mr Isaac Kwame Asiamah, his deputy at the time, Mr Hadzide, and the Acting Director-General of the National Sports Authority, colluded to smuggle individuals into the Ghana contingent that travelled to participate in the games held in Australia.

However, the CID report pointed out that their investigations showed that “there was no such meeting where the Honourable Minister has a meeting with his deputy and the Acting Director-General of the NSA where the Acting Director-General confessed to having caused four names to be added”.

The report added that: “…When the Honourable Minister returned from the Commonwealth Ministers Conference, he called the Deputy Minister to come and brief him on happenings while he was away, after which he was asked to submit a report. It was when the Deputy Minister was leaving that the Acting Director-General entered the Minister’s office. 

“At no point was there a meeting between the Minister, his Deputy and the Acting Director-General of NSA where a confession was made by the Acting Director-General that he caused four names to be added to the accreditation database. 

“At this point of investigations, allegations of the Deputy Minister of Youth and Sports, Honourable Hadzide Pius Enam, colluding with people to have had names of certain people added to the Commonwealth database has not been proven. So far, no person or persons have come forward to state that the Deputy Minister aided him or her to travel to Australia.”