Source: Daily Guide
A Foreign Service Officer and Director of Passport attached to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Alexander Grant Ntiakwa, yesterday told an Accra Circuit Court that he did not sign the passport of Eric Amoateng, the former Member of Parliament (MP) for Nkoranza North.
He told the court presided over by Ellen Vivian Amoah—where Eric Amoateng is on trial for allegedly acquiring a Ghanaian passport fraudulently— that he was sure it would be one of his predecessors’ signature.
The trial judge has asked for forensic analysis to be conducted on the signature to ascertain if indeed it was from the passport office.
The witness in his evidence in chief, led by DSP Aidan Dery, also indicated that by looking at the passport, one wouldn’t know if it was for a lady and that it could be given to a man or vice versa.
The witness said he did not know Amoateng personally but was told he was to testify in a case concerning a man who had acquired a fake passport.
According to him, there are two ways of acquiring a passport, which he said are those acquired biometrically and those which are not.
Explaining further, he stated that with the biometric, an applicant’s fingerprints and signature, among other things including a form filled by the applicant, were required to be deposited at the passport centres for processing.
In addition, he said the passport which was not biometric required a filled application form which was deposited at the passport centres.
During cross-examination by Charles Puozuing, counsel for the accused person, the witness said the presence of an applicant was required in order for his/her passport to be processed.
The passport director also stated that there were records to show whoever applied for a passport because each applicant had a separate file but said it was not in all cases that there were receipts to show.
The trial judge asked the witness if he would be surprised to hear that the Assistant Commissioner of Immigration had stated that a passport which was not biometric could be acquired even if the applicant wasn’t present, to which the witness said he was surprised that the officer had said that.
The case has been adjourned to May 26, 2015.
The investigator, ASP Kwaku Lodonu, was the last person to testify and he told the court during cross-examination by Charles Puozuing that it was based on the report of the owner of the passport, Barbara Inkum, that the accused person was charged.
The investigator also stated that his investigations revealed that the suspect forged the passport for which he was charged but defence counsel put it to the police officer that he had told the court that the accused person was surprised when he informed him that the passport was forged.
The witness responded that he had not concluded his investigations by then and admitted that he had not amended his charge sheet on that.
Puozuing suggested to the policeman that he had told the court that the passport was issued while the suspect was in custody, to which the investigator answered in the affirmative.
Counsel also put it to the investigator that looking at the passport, one would not know that it was forged, to which he answered in the affirmative again.
The investigator had in his evidence in chief said that Amoateng said he acquired the said passport while serving jail time in the US.
The prosecutor in the case also admitted that “nobody knows how the passport came to be in the possession of the accused person.”
Ms Inkum, believed to be the owner of the said passport, has also testified as well as Issaka Lan-Gani, the Assistant Commissioner of Immigration at the Kotoka International Airport (KIA).