Home / GENERAL NEWS / Demand legal stay of foreigners before renting out properties – GIS

Demand legal stay of foreigners before renting out properties – GIS

The Ghana Immigration Service (GIS) has asked landlords and property owners to demand proof of residence or legal stay of foreign nationals before renting out their properties to them.

The GIS warned that it would begin prosecuting landlords and property owners who rented out their facilities to foreigners without proper immigration documents.

According to the GIS, it was illegal for landlords and property owners to indulge in such practices and that the law would soon catch up on such recalcitrant property owners.

Law

A statement issued by the GIS in Accra and signed by the Comptroller-General, Mr Kwame Asuah Takyi, said the use of such properties by persons who were illegally residing in the country made such owners liable of the offence of harbouring an illegal migrant, as stipulated in Section 52(1)(b) of the Immigration Act, 2000 (Act 573).

“Section 52(1)(b) states that a person who knowingly harbours any person whom he knows is to be deported or has reasonable grounds to believe has acted in contravention of this Act commits an offence and is liable on conviction to a fine not exceeding GH¢1,000 or imprisonment for a term not exceeding two years or both,” it added.

According to the statement, properties and residences occupied by illegal foreign migrants were being used in most cases to commit crimes against the state, including cyber fraud.

Following this development, it said the GIS would be conducting checks on the premises of landlords and property owners and, therefore, urged them to fully cooperate with officers of the GIS.

Also Check:   Scrap by-elections to avoid tensions — Nii Arde Tagoe A Traditional leader, Nii Arde Tagoe, has called for a constitutional amendment to cancel the conduct of by-elections among political parties to avoid the violence associated with such elections. He said “just as the case of a President where his vice is made to complete the unfinished tenure, if a Member of Parliament (MP) dies or resigns, the MP's political party should be allowed to select his or her replacement.” Speaking in an interview with the Daily Graphic, Nii Arde Tagoe, who is the Head of the Nii Arde Nkpa family of Plenor, Kokrobite, Langma and Tuba, said by-elections were normally characterised with violence because the ruling political party would fight to win the seat to make a political capital out of it that it was popular while the opposition party would also struggle to win the seat to create the impression that the government was unpopular. Perpetration of violence As a result, he said, the political parties marshalled their supporters from the various regions to police the ballot, which led to the perpetration of violence. He mentioned the Atewa, Chereponi, Talensi and Amenfi West by-elections and the recent by-election held in Ayawaso West Wuogon as examples. "All these areas were bloody and people were brutalised. It means that as a country any by-election cannot be done in a serene atmosphere because of the tension. The ruling party wants to win the seat and the opposition party wants to take the seat. These two angles make things dicey. It creates panic and fear because all eyes are there", he said. Nii Arde said if political parties were allowed to conduct their own internal elections to elect replacements for MPs who died or resigned, the phenomenon of vigilante groups visiting mayhem during by-elections would be curtailed. Besides, he said resources used in the conduct of by-elections would be saved for other purposes while productivity in terms of people spending their time to vote would not be lost. Following the violence recorded at the recent Ayawaso West Wuogon by-election, the President has constituted a Commission of Enquiry which is looking into the issue. Disband vigilante groups Nii Arde called for the disbandment of all political vigilante groups by all political parties since they did not do any good to the country's democratic process. He particularly urged President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo to lead the clean-up exercise by leading the crusade to disband political vigilante groups. "The onus is on the President not to allow the vigilante groups to stand. The urgency the President attached to the 'galamsey' (illegal mining) fight should be extended to the vigilante groups", he said. Nii Arde also urged leaders of various political parties to discourage the activities of vigilante groups to avoid violence in elections.

“Notice is further given that it is an offence to disobey or disregard any obligation or directive given under the Immigration Act,” it emphasised.

“Allow officers to do their work”

Obstruction or prevention of an officer of the GIS from carrying out his lawful duty of checking a premises was an offence under the Immigration Act, it added.

“Upon the submission of a Service Identity Card, the general public is, therefore, requested to cooperate with all Immigration Officers who visit their premises to conduct checks. Severe sanctions will be applied to all who breach the law by obstructing the Immigration Officer(s) from performing his/her lawful duty(ies),” the statement explained.

Sanity

Throwing light on the development, the Head of Public Affairs Directorate of the GIS, Superintendent Michael Amoako-Attah, told the Daily Graphic reporter, Salomey Appiah-Adjei, that the GIS had always visited various premises suspected to house foreign nationals to conduct checks on their documents in line with the law.

He said the practice of harbouring illegal immigrants led to the increase in crime as their activities could not be traced or monitored.

“We have been working with the law but it looks like whenever we go out to enforce the regulations, most landlords are not aware of the fact that they are supposed to check for resident permits when foreign nationals come to rent their premises”, he explained.

Superintendent Amoako-Attah further advised landlords and property owners to demand passports of foreign nationals and check for a GIS sticker which is an indication of a permit.

Source: Graphic.com.gh

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