I never applied for British citizenship – Segbefia

BY: Edmund Smith-Asante

A former Deputy Chief of Staff during President John Evans Atta Mills’s tenure (2009-2013), Mr Alexander Percival Segbefia, has stressed that he did not apply for British citizenship at any time during his sojourn in the UK, although he could have done that if he so wished.

Almost breaking down with emotion when the issue came up on Friday during his vetting as Deputy Minister of Defence-designate, Mr Segbefia told the Appointments Committee of Parliament that he refrained from applying for British citizenship.

He said he took the decision after he had been advised by his father who was a Member of Parliament for Anlo during the Busia regime that he could not become an MP as he desired, if he took on British citizenship.


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Law practice in UK

Mr Segbefia said following that, although there was an opportunity for him to become a British citizen when he practised law in the UK in various capacities such as Crown Prosecutor, and then eventually becoming the Acting District Crown Prosecutor at the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS), he did not utilise it.

“I never took a position as Senior Civil Service Prosecutor as that would have required applying for British citizenship,” he said, clarifying that the position he occupied was rather Senior Crown Prosecutor.

The deputy minister of defence designate, who was the fourth to be vetted on Friday, said he was able to work in the UK with work permits, with the last one lasting for a period of three years.

He told the committee that he was born in 1963 and also had a Ghanaian birth certificate, although he admitted he could not fluently speak his native language, Ewe, for which he said the retinue of chiefs and elders of the Anlo state that accompanied him to the vetting had chastised him.

Mr Segbefia was called to the UK Bar in November 1988 and the Ghana Bar in October 2008.


Sale of confiscated vehicles

On a question from Mr Samuel Atta Akyea, MP for Abuakwa South, on why one Carl Wilson was allowed to perpetuate fraud in the allocation of confiscated vehicles to people through his office, Mr Segbefia replied: “I never allowed anyone to come to my office with money for a vehicle.”

Explaining the processes, he said anyone who expressed interest in the vehicles had to first obtain a chit, which would have the specific vehicle indicated on it and then sent to Customs where the processes would continue for the vehicle in question.

He recommended that in the instances of fraud, the security agencies must be utilised.


Health insurance

Concerning the inability of the government to implement a one-time premium for health insurance as suggested by the National Democratic Congress (NDC), Mr Segbefia said he understood the explanation given by the NHIA boss, Mr Sylvester Mensah, on why it could not be done.

He said he agreed that the time was not ripe for its implementation, although at the time it was suggested he believed it could be done.

“In life, anyone who does not change his mind will be in serious problem,” he told the committee.


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