Whatsup News has gathered from sources at the Kotoka International Airport (KIA) that the Management of Ghana Airport Company Limited (GACL) has turned the domestic terminal at the airport (Terminal 2) into a Gestapo-styled holding centre for foreign travelers to Ghana who cannot pay the outrageous US$ 150 for COVID-19 test.
Senior officers are reportedly worried that this measure is certain to expose Ghanaian domestic travellers to potential COVID-19 infections because the detained travellers virtually use the same facilities at Terminal 2 with otherwise healthy domestic travellers.
Whatsup News can report that foreign travellers into Ghana who cannot cough up the much-criticised COVID-19 test fees are detained for about 24 hours at the main international terminal (Terminal 3) and later shipped to Terminal 2 for unknown days before they are reportedly forced into quarantine by the security agencies.
Responding to a viral video of disgruntled travellers showing their sorry state at the holding centres at the airport, the GACL admitted that recalcitrant travellers are indeed detained. It however, did not specifically state where.
“Management wishes to emphasise that the guidelines for arriving passengers state that, passengers who refuse to pay for the COVID-19 test will be handed over to State Security Agencies and taken into quarantine at designated locations,” the GACL stated in a statement released on Monday, October 5, 2020.
Over the weekend, Whatsup News happened upon a disturbing video of distressed Ghanaians travellers who have been detained at KIA for being unable to cough up the contentious US$150.
The video which has gone viral shows a four-month-old baby forced to sleep on the bare benches at the arrival lounge of the airport after its parents could not pay the controversial amount to get them and their baby tested.
According to the amateur photographer who catalogued the predicament of these stranded travellers, they demanded airport authorities to quarantine them since they could not pay for the test, but officials reportedly told them that the government cannot pay for their quarantine and that they must remain at the airport indefinitely.
At the time of the video, the passengers claim they were on the verge of spending two days sleeping on the airport benches instead of reuniting with their family and friends they journeyed to visit.
The Akufo Addo administration has been accused of unduly using a COVID-19 excuse to exploit international travellers to Ghana, by requiring them to squeeze out some US$ 150 each for a cheap COVID-19 Antigen test, the third-highest fee in the world.
Investigations have revealed that the company responsible for the test, Frontier Health Services Limited is owned by Nigerian fugitive Billionaire friend of the Jubilee House, Benedict Peters,
The circumstances around the award of the contract to slap US$ 150 on each COVID test has mostly remained hushed up as a cross-section of Ghanaian parliamentarians demand answers.
The deal also makes it obvious that the company dispensing the test, Frontier Health Services is bearing no risk whatsoever, yet, it takes the lion’s share of the booty from the test on arriving passengers. Frontier keeps approximately US$ 139, while three major government institutions at the frontline of the COVID-19 fight get to keep a paltry US$ 11 per test.
The three include the Noguchi Memorial Medical Research Institute, US$4; the Ghana Health Services, US$3 and the GACL, US$ 4 per test.
Serious questions around the test have popped up, as it turned out that Frontier may be repatriating the funds out of the country to notorious tax havens in Dominica and Panama, where its owners have set up shell companies.
Frontier Health Services is owned 100% by Healthcare Solutions Limited, a company which is, in turn, owned 100% by The Peters Family Company Limited, an opaque company registered in the notorious Caribbean Island tax haven called Dominica.
Curiously, Professor William Kwabena Ampofo, the point man at the Noguchi Memorial Institute for Medical Research (NMIMR) who facilitated the entire deal, is a cousin to President Akufo Addo.
Professor Ampofo is the Coordinator of the National Laboratory for COVID 19 Testing at Noguchi. He clandestinely handed over the authorisation for the COVID-19 test to Frontier Services.
The true owners of the companies, aside the Nigerian Billionaire are still unknown. Checks indicate that the stated Capital of Healthcare Solutions is a mere one dollar (US$1). It is unclear how such a company with virtually no track record in such infectious disease control system clinch the deal at the Kotoka airport.
So far, civil society groups such as IMANI Africa have been asking probing questions and they have warned that the test has not even been subjected to mandatory standardisation protocols as required by Ghanaians laws. Essentially, the test may well be a scam due to the fact of its secret endorsement and also the fact that it is an antigen test of a mere 50% accuracy rate.