An international observer arrested in Kotoka with $100 and President Akufo-Addo's business card.
Immigration and Customs officers at Kotoka International Airport in Accra arrested one of the international observers of the December 7 elections in Ghana yesterday when they found $100 in his bag as he registered to leave the country for the United States of America (USA).
Dr. Christopher Fomunyoh of the National Democratic Institute (NDI) for International Affairs, headquartered in Washington DC in the United States, could not satisfactorily explain where the money came from when questioned. Under the laws of Ghana, as well as the United States and many other countries, any traveler must declare at the point of departure and arrival any sum of money they are carrying if it exceeds US$10. It is illegal for a traveler not to declare money to customs officials. In Ghana, passengers must declare the amount to customs and complete the BOG Foreign Exchange Declaration Form (FXDF) at the point of entry (or departure). In the United States, money must be declared to US Customs and Border Protection (CBP). Anyone who violates this law may be subject to civil or criminal penalties.
When asked about where the money came from, Dr Christopher Fumunyoh, a lawyer by profession who is Cameroonian but has been a naturalized citizen of the United States where he resides, said it was the money he had brought from NDI for him and his colleagues to spend in the event of a runoff election but that, as there was no runoff, they did not spend it. When asked how he got the money out of the United States to get it into Ghana, he could not provide an answer as there was no documentation that he got the money out. United States to bring him into Ghana, as required by law. He instead resorted to several calls to members of the current government to let them know of the situation in which he found himself. A further search of his bag revealed call cards from President Akufo-Addo and Finance Minister Ken Ofori-Atta!
Numerous appeals from power compelled immigration and customs officials to let him go. But they also drew attention to the number of international observers who came to the country to monitor the elections and left with hundreds of thousands of US dollars and the business cards of President Akufo-Addo and the Minister of finances, Ken Ofori-Atta, in their bags.