In a recent court ruling, 24 ECOWAS (Economic Community of West African States) nationals have been fined GH₵1000 each by the Sekondi District court for illegal entry and illegal stay in Ghana, which are in violation of Section 20(1) and 52(1)(D) of the Immigration Act 2000 (Act 573).
The convicts, who pleaded guilty, will face a six-month jail term each if they fail to pay the fines. Additionally, they will be deported back to their respective countries upon serving their sentences.
The Sekondi District court, presided over by Mrs. Araba Nunoowas, was informed that the Ghana Immigration Service's Western Regional Command arrested these individuals on October 16. The arrests were made by the Axim Sector Command and targeted a total of 31 ECOWAS nationals.
These individuals were suspected of being involved in commercial sex work and human trafficking, operating from hideouts in the Ellembelle District and Nzema East Municipality within the Western Region.
Assistant Inspector Moses Manford Akakpo, the Western Regional GIS Public Affairs Officer, revealed that eight of the convicts have successfully paid their fines, while administrative processes have begun for their deportation.
The remaining individuals have been sent to the Sekondi Central Prison to serve their prison sentences.
He explained that the Ghana Immigration Service is currently working on repatriating two of the initial 31 suspects who were identified during investigations as potential trafficking victims. These individuals will be sent back to their home country to be reunited with their families.
Additionally, two nursing mothers, along with three key suspects—Mr. and Mrs. Okereke, both of Nigerian nationality, and a Ghanaian citizen, Mr. Kofi Bekoe—have been granted police inquiry bail. This step will enable the Ghana Immigration Service to conclude its investigations into their cases.