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Fake U.S. Embassy in Ghana Shut down after Issuing Visas for 10 years

BellaNaija.com

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u-s-citizenship-immigration-servicesAuthorities in Ghana have busted a fake U.S. embassy in the capital Accra, run by a criminal network that had issued legitimate, but fraudulently obtained visas for one decade, the U.S. State Department said in a statement.

The statement noted that until its shutdown this summer, the sham embassy was housed in a run-down, pink two-storey building with a corrugated iron roof and flew a U.S. flag outside it, adding that it hung the portrait of U.S. President, Barack Obama, inside it.

The U.S. statement added that “it was not operated by the United States Government, but by figures from both Ghanaian and Turkish organised crime rings and a Ghanaian attorney practicing immigration and criminal law.”

Turkish citizens who spoke English and Dutch posed as consular officers and staffed the operation.

Investigations also uncovered a fake Dutch embassy, the State Department said.

Officials in the Netherlands were not immediately reachable for comment on Sunday.

The crime ring issued fraudulently obtained but legitimate U.S. visas and false identification documents, including birth certificates at a cost of $6,000 each.

During raids that led to a number of arrests, authorities also seized authentic and counterfeit Indian, South African and Schengen Zone visas and 150 passports from 10 different countries, along with a laptop and smart phones.

The U.S. State Department statement, however, did not say how the gang obtained the authentic visas and did not say how many people were believed to have illegally entered the U.S. and other countries using visas issued by the crime ring.

“The criminals running the operation were able to pay off corrupt officials to look the other way, as well as obtain legitimate blank documents to be doctored,” the statement said.

There was no immediate comment from Ghana’s Criminal Investigations Division.

Visas for Western countries are in high demand in Africa and embassies say the visa market is a big target for organised crime.

The real U.S. Embassy in Ghana is a prominent and heavily fortified complex in Cantonments, Accra, one of the capital’s most expensive neighbourhoods.

Lines of people queue outside each day for visa appointments and other consular business.

The fake embassy was open three mornings a week and did not accept walk-in appointments, instead, the criminals advertised on billboards in Ghana, Togo and Ivory Coast and brought clients from across West Africa to Accra where they rented them rooms in nearby hotels.

U.S. authorities conducting a broader security operation were tipped off about it and assembled a team, including the Ghana Detectives Bureau and police, as well as other international partners to shut down the ring.

19 Comments

  1. Anon

    December 5, 2016 at 12:23 pm

    Schadenfreude! That’s all!!

    • Tru

      December 5, 2016 at 1:10 pm

      As in…more substance than the jollof wars

  2. Blueberry

    December 5, 2016 at 12:26 pm

    And you say 419 no get level?! 10 years?!!!

    • Omoté

      December 5, 2016 at 2:14 pm

      Lol! At least dey gave out legit visas. Nah better insider runz. Grease d palms of corrupt officials well n dey look d other way.

  3. Mo'Diva

    December 5, 2016 at 12:45 pm

    O boy…..

  4. molarah

    December 5, 2016 at 12:54 pm

    10 years…..! Now we know the true identity of the “Nigerian princes” on the internet….lmao.

    But bia, how does a crime ring get access to “legitimate visas”? That doesn’t even sound right. The US is hiding some information about themselves in this report.

    • Nene

      December 5, 2016 at 2:52 pm

      Exactly

  5. Nene

    December 5, 2016 at 2:51 pm

    Is this real? Wow

  6. Odi

    December 5, 2016 at 2:54 pm

    Bn and your source is?

    • Iris

      December 5, 2016 at 3:31 pm

      I saw it on CNN.
      Lol the first thing I did was search for the word ‘Nigeria’ in the article to make sure we were not involved. Then I indulged in a little chuckle. Ghanaians this one has surpassed all of our 419 combined. A whole US embassy! Lmao. Abeg you guys should carry the title proudly. We have handed over.

    • MurderSheWrote

      December 5, 2016 at 4:07 pm

      My dear! Honestly. Like we have given Ghana the mantle. Take it, it is all yours lol #Gbagbeoshi I tuale for Ghana!

    • chiquita

      December 5, 2016 at 7:51 pm

      OMG I thought the same thing…a whole embassy, Ghana…I give una 3 gbosas, please wear the crown as the rightful king of 419. If u hear from one Ghanaian about Nigerian scammers again ehn, …

  7. Mo'Diva

    December 5, 2016 at 4:59 pm

    Lol @ we have handed over

  8. Zella

    December 5, 2016 at 6:46 pm

    Ayam not understending??? 10 years in Ghana fa! Ghana! I thee una with my left arm under my right elbow!

  9. Marlvina

    December 5, 2016 at 7:40 pm

    Wow! this is serious. For 10yrs and they are only getting to know about it now? I’m certain several Nigerians have gotten their American visas there. Lol

  10. OA

    December 6, 2016 at 12:37 am

    [email protected] one has surpassed all of our 419 combined!

    This takes the cake alright! Clearly, na insider job. Abi a whole US nor go know how many visas were being issued each year in each country? And wouldn’t they have noticed an unusually high no. of visas originating from Ghana such that it should have been questioned since the very first couple of years?

  11. Efya

    December 6, 2016 at 6:52 am

    I can bet anything it is not run by Ghanaians. We are not that sofisticated when it comes to this level of fraud or stealing.

    The world has only one group of people who have PhD in fraud and you know who you are

    We all know where the culprits are from and in due time the world will hear it. We all know they migrate to other countries and this is the bullshit they do no wonder most nations don’t want them. They are in Ghana in masses doing this kinds of bullshit everyday . If the cap fits wear it.

    • Nuna

      December 6, 2016 at 9:30 am

      Lmao keep deceiving yourself dear. BWAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA The joke is on you

    • Loki

      December 6, 2016 at 12:38 pm

      Gerraway, we too aren’t sophisticated. What dos it ifun mean? Aven’t you hiard awa edukashun is fery pour? We dont want. Carry go!

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