The Ghana Hajj Board and the Ghana Hajj Agents Association have expressed concern about the “abuse” of the Saudi tourist and Ummrah visas by some persons.
According to a press release dated Friday, April 14, 2023, the Board and the Association disclosed that Saudi laws consider either tourist or Ummrah visas as illegal in embarking on Hajj.
“However, some people with the connivance of a few Hajj agents are allegedly perpetrating this illegality,” the press release indicated.
“The illegality is threatening the integrity of the management of the annual pilgrimage.”
According to the Board, these suspected persons after obtaining the tourist and Ummrah visas, illegally extended their stay in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and infiltrate the camp of Ghanaian pilgrims.
“Such violators are the source of the bulk of the challenges encountered by the Ghana Hajj Board every year.
“They infiltrate the Ghanaian camp and illegally access facilities such as accommodation and transport and partake in the meals meant for our pilgrims, a conduct which creates logistical challenges for the Board.”
The Board insists that holders of such visas could face a five-year prison term or an outright and indefinite ban from Saudi after serving their sentence as their action is against the laws of the land.
It said the Ministry of Hajj in Saudi Arabia has issued several warnings about this.
“Fresh and drastic measures, details of which include collaboration with Saudi Security Agents to arrest such persons among others, have been considered and firmed up by the Ghana Hajj Board.
“Agents implicated in such unlawful action will face sanctions including a long period of suspension from operating as Hajj agents.”
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