The Ghana Immigration Service (GIS) says it will soon begin a nationwide crackdown on landlords and property owners who have rented out to non-Ghanaians with no immigration status.
According to the GIS, these rented properties and residences have become the haven for cyber fraudsters and other criminals.
“The use of such properties by persons who are illegally residing in the country make such owners liable of the offence of harboring an illegal migrant, as stipulated in Section 52(1)(b) of the Immigration Act 2000 (Act 573),” said a release signed by Comptroller-General, Kwame Asuah Takyi.
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 GHS1,000 or imprisonment for a term not exceeding two years or both.
“The GIS hereby wishes to serve notice to all landlords and owners of properties that, it will be conducting vigorous checks on their premises, and are therefore being asked, to fully cooperate with officers of the GIS,” the release added.
The strongly-worded release by the Immigration Service boss comes on the back of a viral video showing immigration officials under attack by persons suspected to Nigerian nationals.
The incident happened at Kasoa in the Central Region and shows at least five Immigration Officers in an official vehicle in a neighbourhood of foreign nationals mainly Nigerians.
The aggressive foreigners who were uncomfortable at the presence of these officials can be heard hurling insults and invectives at the Ghanaian officers, calling the Ghanaian officials thieves.
The vehicle of the immigration officers was locked with cement blocks and wooden crates.
Video: The incident prompted the GIS to vow severe actions against illegal residents
The GIS further reminded landlords and owners of properties that the obstruction or prevention of an officer of the Service from carrying out his lawful duty is an offence under the Immigration Act.
“The GIS wishes to advise landlords and property owners to at all times demand proof of residence or legal stay of foreign nationals before they give out their properties to non-Ghanaians and/or enter into a lodging/tenancy contract with such persons.
“Notice is further given that, it is an offence to disobey or disregard any obligation or directive given under the Immigration Act,” the Comptroller-General’s release, issued on February 14, stated.
He directs that upon the submission of a Service Identity Card, the general public is requested to cooperate with all Immigration Officers who visit their premises to conduct checks.