Disappointing, Troubling

-Liberia's Diplomatic Passports In Criminal’s Hands

MONROVIA-The National Youth Movement for Transparent Elections (NAYMOTE) has expressed total disappointment with the issuance of Liberian diplomatic passports to high-profile criminals globally.

NAYMOTE’s statement is in line with the recent case of Sheikh Bassirou Kante, which was published in the Frontpage Africa, May 9 edition and said such act should claim the attention of all well-meaning Liberians as this is dangerous to the country’s international image, peace and global security.

NAMOTE recalled that on September 10, 2020, former United States Secretary of State Michael R. Pompeo announced the public designation of Former Director of Passport and Visas, Andrew Wonplo.

The announcement was made according to the U.S. Government due to Mr. Wonplo involvement in significant corruption as an official at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs from 2018-2019.

This allegation of passport fraud and corruption was not adequately investigated when Wonplo left the country and later informed Liberians that authorization of issuing diplomatic passports came from his bosses including the Minister of Foreign Affairs and office of the President of Liberia.

The Diplomatic Passport issued to Sheikh Bassirou Kante, listed him as a Chief of Staff, Office of the Representative of District 14 in Montserrado County, Abraham Vamuyan Conneh which was issued on 12 August 2020.

According to NAYMOTE Executive Director, Eddie Jarwolo this issue has the propensity of undermining the integrity of the country’s official traveling documents and security of the immigration processes.

Mr. Jarwolo: “We are calling on the Leadership of the House of Representatives to immediately proceed with an investigation of their colleague on how this alleged Chief of Staff obtained this diplomatic passport”.

He wants the committees on Foreign Affairs and Judiciary in the Liberian Legislature to use their oversight function to ensure the issuance of diplomatic passports to criminals are put to an end and those involved should be prosecuted under the law of Liberia.

Jarwolo also called on all diplomatic missions in Liberia and globally including Interpol to thoroughly investigate individuals holding Liberia’s diplomatic passports before giving them any opportunity that they so desire including obtaining travel visas.

Meanwhile, the NAYMOTE Executive Director has welcomed the move by President George Weah by directed the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Dee-Maxwell Kemayah, to immediately investigate circumstances leading to the issuance of Liberia’s Diplomatic passport to Sheik Bassirou Kante, who was recently arrested in the United States of America.

Jarwolo said by the President’s order that the Ministry of Foreign Affairs immediately stop the issuance of diplomatic passports to anyone unless otherwise authorized by him is commendable.

He indicated that President Weah also directing Minister Kemayah to submit a full report detailing a review of how Liberian diplomatic passports are issued is another serious move by the Chief Executive of Liberia.

The report by the Foreign Minister is to be submitted within one week.

Meanwhile, Montserrado County District 14 Representative, Abraham Vamuyan Corneh, has refuted media reports linking detained Liberian businessman Sheik Bassirou-Kante as Chief of Staff in his office.

At a news conference in Monrovia Tuesday, Representative Corneh clarified there is no title of such that exists at the House of Representatives instead Chief of Office Staff.

According to him, Mr. Anthony D. Wisseh, Jr., has over the years served as his Chief of Office Staff as opposed to Kante’s assertion.

He added that Kante’s illegal possession of a diplomatic passport is in direct contravention to the laid down policy of the House of Representatives.

Businessman Kante was arrested last month at home in the United States and charged with money laundering conspiracy.

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