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Commonwealth Games 2018, Gold Coast: Ghana to probe visa racketeering scandal

Ghana on Thursday announced that its Sports Ministry will look into the media reports of a visa racketeering scandal relating to the Commonwealth Games in Australia.

Commonwealth Games 2018, Gold Coast: Ghana to probe visa racketeering scandal

Accra: Ghana's sports ministry is launching a probe into media reports of visa racketeering scandal that has hit the country's participation at the ongoing Commonwealth Games in Australia, Pius Enam Hadzide, deputy sports minister, said.

The assurance comes after media reports that more than 65 Ghanaians had either been stranded, detained or deported from Australia by immigration authorities of Australia and transit countries like Singapore on suspicions of visa fraud, reports Xinhua news agency.

The beleaguered Ghanaians, who claim to be journalists, were billed to provide coverage for Team Ghana at the Games being held at Gold Coast in Australia, as they were issued visas as journalists from various media houses in Ghana.

But the Australian authorities were not convinced by their reasons for travelling to the country because although they claimed to be journalists and had genuine visas, many of them did not carry the recommended equipment for the coverage of such a sporting event.

Speaking to the media on Wednesday, Hadzide denied reports that his outfit was involved in the facilitation of visas for the media.

"We will be conducting a full-scale probe into this issue and whoever is involved will be made to face the full rigours of the law," he said.

Meanwhile, the Ghana Journalists Association is calling on the police and other relevant state institutions to thoroughly investigate the matter to establish the true identity of the deportees for the purposes of redeeming the image of Ghana and Ghanaian journalists.

In a statement issued by its president, Roland Affail Monney, the GJA noted that the deportation of the alleged journalists from Australia had the tendency to soil the image of Ghanaian journalists in particular and Ghana as a whole.

Ghana will be looking forward to improving on the two bronze medals it won at the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow, Scotland.

The West African country, which will be represented by 72 athletes who will be participating in 12 sporting disciplines in the 12-day Games, is targeting to win five medals.