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Thursday, October 1, 2009

500 being trained to detect visa, passport fraud

A total of 500 officers from the Ghana Immigration Service (GIS), Passport Office, Marriage, Births and Deaths Registry and the Document and Visa Fraud Unit of the Police Service are to be trained in basic document fraud detection by the end of the year.

So far, 200 personnel from the agencies have undergone training in document fraud detection, finger print techniques, standard operating procedures in issuance of documents and migration investigations as part of efforts to combat illegal migration under an "Aeneas programme".

The Aeneas programme is a European Union sponsored initiative aimed at providing skills to personnel from the agencies with Information Technology (IT) know-how and techniques to identify fraudulent documents.

To ensure the sustenance of the programme, the GIS last Tuesday presented fraud detection equipment and their requisite software to agencies under the programme.

Presenting the equipment and certificates to beneficiaries of the training under the IT Scheme of the programme, the Director of immigration, Elizabeth Adjei, explained that the essence of the training was to reduce the incidence of document fraud in the country.

She said a National Document Expert Laboratory would soon be established in Ghana to counter fraudulent documents in order to protect the integrity of documents in the system.

She noted that apart from the IT and document fraud detection training, 14 members of the programme's management team would also undergo professional training in project management.

Ms Adjei therefore asked the agencies to make good use of the equipment and thanked the donor community for their assistance.

The Head of Governance Unit of the European Delegation in Ghana, Daria Finn, said it was important for the beneficiary agencies on the programme to intensity their collaboration and increase commitment to ensure that the objectives of the initiative were achieved and sustained even after the end of the programme.

She said the danger which document fraud posed to national security of countries was the bases for the EU to support the programme with Euros 1.8m.

"Document fraud is a threat to national security and legal migration and as such, there is the need for all and sundry to collaborate and curb the canker," she said.

The Aeneas programme manager, Papa Kwaw Mensah, disclosed that the standard operating procedures of the Births and Deaths Registry had been revised and training on new procedures had been conducted for more than 170 staff of the agency.

He said security papers and hologram seals had also been supplied to the same agency for the introduction of new birth certificates.

He therefore asked the course participants to take the training seriously and thanked the EU, British, Spanish and Dutch government for supporting the programme.

Source: The Ghanaian Times

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