The Chief Executive Officer of the Consumer Protection Agency, Kofi Kapito says the government and its agencies responsible for COVID-19 testing at the Kotoka International Airport must immediately desist from detaining people who are unable to pay the testing fees at the airport.
In a statement copied to Citi News, Mr. Kapito said such detentions are “unlawful” and “tantamount to kidnapping.”
Some Ghanaians who flew in from outside the country and are unable to pay the $150 fee for a mandatory COVID-19 test are reportedly being detained until they are able to pay the amount.
Kofi Kapito said it is unacceptable for anybody to be detained as Ghana’s laws do not deem a debtor to be a criminal that should be detained.
He further threatened that the Consumer Protection Agency will be forced to take legal actions over the matter should be supposed debtors continue to be held at the airport.
Read the full statement below:
It has come to the notice of the Consumer Protection Agency that certain Ghanaian citizens who live abroad or visited abroad and wanted to come back to Ghana, are since held at Kotoka International Airport against their will and the laws of Ghana.
It is the Agency’s position that there is no law in Ghana that enjoins the Ghana authorities to hold a citizen of Ghana at the airport for non-payment of a service.
In fact, debtors in Ghana law are not deemed as criminals. Therefore, it is the position of the Agency, through its CEO Kofi Kapito that what is happening to those citizens of Ghana at the Airport is;
- Tantamount to kidnapping.
- Infringement on the rights of freedom of movement.
- False imprisonment.
We by this communiqué, advice the Ghanaian authorities who are involved in this activity to desist forthwith otherwise we have no choice but to take legal action against them for abuse power (i.e. ultra vires).
Meanwhile, the running mate of the National Democratic Congress (NDC), Naana Jane Opoku Agyemang says the situation is “heartbreaking.”
In a statement on the matter, she said “it is the primary responsibility of any government to offer aid to all of its citizens, especially in times like these… No Ghanaian should be left stranded in their own country and no government should look on unconcerned.”